Marquardt: “When Mercedes suddenly announced they would be turning their back on the DTM the series’ existence was in jeopardy”


Jens Marquadt: 2018 DTM Series
Credit: BMW Press Group Global

Ahead of the DTM Series finale, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt has spoken about the future of the series.

With Aston Martin, in partnership with R-Motorsport and HWA, announcing they are to join the series and the 2019 calendar released there is a lot to look forward to.

However, it has not been easy to get to this point after a turbulent period following Mercedes‘ decision to leave the series.

Despite that, BMW and Audi remain committed to the DTM and are being rewarded for their loyalty.

“We are happy and proud that all the efforts and commitment on various levels in the past weeks and months have paid off. When Mercedes, to everyone’s surprise, suddenly announced they would be turning their back on the DTM, the series’ existence was in jeopardy. We then rolled our sleeves up quickly and promised to fight for this spectacular series for the fans – which is exactly what we did,” said Marquardt.

“Our early commitment to the DTM was a very important signal; many other steps followed. Together with the ITR, Gerhard Berger and Audi, we then resolutely expedited the specific plans, whether now in the Class One regulations, marketing or internationalisation. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Japanese Super GT manufacturers and the Aston Martin works entry clearly shows that our commitment to the DTM has paid dividends.”

Details of the two races DTM will contest against Super GT next year shall be announced at a later date.

Aston Martin’s entry is very good news for the DTM as it shows the series, despite its recent struggles is still seen as an option and is evolving from its solely German roots.

“All I can say is: Welcome to the DTM, Aston Martin. The entry is fantastic news for the DTM and its fans. It is more than an important signal for the future of the series and gives us, and hopefully other interested manufacturers, planning reliability for the coming years. Aston Martin is a respected and esteemed competitor in GT racing. We are now looking forward to being able to compete with Aston Martin in the DTM as well.”

With the uncertainty surrounding the series, Marquardt would be forgiven if he has held any doubts about the direction of the DTM but the BMW-man never quivered and put all the credit onto Berger.

We certainly never doubted that the DTM is a fantastic and, in this form, unique platform for motorsport – with terrific action on track, the best touring car drivers in the world and a very special closeness with fans. However, it was also clear that the framework had to be right for everyone involved. Naturally, this always included the desire to enter the ring with at least two other manufacturers.

“Everyone played their part. With our commitment, we gave Gerhard Berger a good proposal, which he received gratefully and then utilised perfectly. All our thanks go to him; it was with dedication, motorsport expertise and a lot of hard work that as captain he superlatively navigated the DTM through the rough seas. His part in the positive future prospects of the DTM can’t be emphasised highly enough.”

It will be a big transition for the DTM, and will mark a new beginning for the series which will have to make sure it takes the right steps in the right direction.

The main focus is on the internationalisation, which was one of the main premises for BMW remaining dedicated to the champion. The partnership with SUper GT and the expansion of the DTM platform in Europe is key to this.

From next year the Class One regulations come into force with work in the coming months to be ready for the start of next season.

“The saying ‘after the season is before the season’ is more applicable for us this year than ever. The new ‘Class One’ regulations come into force next year – our preparations for this are in full swing. We will soon have the first roll-out of the new car, followed by the first tests.

“We are all really looking forward to it. This is a fantastic development for the DTM. A significant increase in power, with comparable downforce, means that the driver will play an even bigger role than before.”

These first tests take place 15-18 April at the Lausitzring.