With the announcement that BMW will no longer be involved in the DTM, Racing Bart Mampaey will realign it’s activities and scale down all racing operations.
BMW has been involved in the DTM since it’s reinvention back in 2012 but now has pulled all BMW works involvement and will only focus on privateer teams from now on. Without the cooperation of BMW, RBM team principal Bart Mampaey has therefore decided to restructure RBM, scaling down the team in its racing activities and will bring the RBM values and skills into other industries.
When asked why he took the decision to scale down the team Mampaey explained. “ It was for sure a very difficult decision to take. Racing has always been in my focus, it is my life, as is my racing team. We have been committed to DTM and BMW for the past decade but this new situation led to the fact that BMW could not continue the cooperation with us in the DTM as a works team in its previous form.
“For sure, you could look for other full – time racing options but you have to consider that motorsport, in general, is facing demanding times. We don’t know when the Covid – 19 pandemic will end and how motorsports will look like afterwards. As a team principal, I have the responsibility for my staff. I cannot keep a full team running with all 30 employees without being able to 100 per cent confirm that we will compete and that all jobs are safe.
“My staff is very important to me, they are like a family partly since 25 years and I don’t want them to live with uncertainties. So it was better to take the hard decision to restructure the team and to scale down the racing activities and to see what other opportunities arise outside of motorsports. And my employees fully support me in this decision.
“I want to thank them all for all the great years, all their hard work and their commitment, be it in ETCC, WTCC or DTM. They are the soul of RBM and made the team to what it is now. It is painful to see many of these great, skilled and committed guys leaving our RBM family.
“They once again proved themselves by securing the win in the DTM Pit Stop Award for RBM in 2020, in a very challenging last DTM year for BMW. A big thank you also goes to BMW for a great partnership spanning 25 years. From the word go until the final curtain in DTM, BMW was always at our side, and our relationship will stay strong even if we withdraw as a works team.”
Mampaey has a long history with racing as back in 1995, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his parents who had been successful with their team Juma Racing during the 1970s and 1980s. He then founded his own squad, Racing Bart Mampaey or RBM for short.
The team’s first win came in 1997, followed by another win in 1998 which was an overall win in the prestigious 24 hours of Spa – Francorchamps. In 2002, the team entered the FIA European Touring Car Championship (FIA ETCC) with the first big highlight being the title win with Andy Priaulx in 2004. From 2005 to 2010, RBM competed in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (FIA WTCC). RBM and BMW won the world championship title with Priaulx in 2005. This was rewarded by RBM becoming a full BMW Motorsport works team from 2006.
The dominance continued, and two more titles with Priaulx followed in 2006 and 2007, making it three world championships in a row. BMW Team RBM also played its part in making BMW one of the most successful manufacturers in the FIA WTCC. When BMW returned to the DTM in 2012, BMW Team RBM, of course, followed as one of the works teams and enjoyed some great successes over the last eight years.
It seems that Mampaey did not take this decision lightly and still plans to keep his finger in the racing pie so to speak. “I have racing in my blood, it was born in my cradle. I grew up with my parents running a racing team and I had my own one for nearly half of my life. Of course, I will miss racing.
“All these memories and moments of 25 years came to my mind during the last race in Hockenheim. And I will miss the guys from my team because as I said they are like a family to me. But the times are changing and we are facing a challenging future. So we have to take the decisions that we think are the best to keep RBM at the sharp end and ready for opportunities when they arise.
“In this case, it means dramatically downscaling the racing activities. But that does not mean that the motorsport chapter is closed now. We want to continue racing and are seeing what options we will have. For the moment, I am looking into other opportunities where we can bring in our typical RBM values and skills. What distinguishes us are our engineering and operational know-how, our sense for excellence, our focus on efficiency and close teamwork that is based on strong human relationships.
“I think these values and skills could allow us to gain a firm foothold also in other industries than motorsports. We have contacted external partners with this idea and they are enthusiastic and believe this could be interesting. You always say: when one door closes, another door opens. So I am excited to see what options will arise in the future.”