Audi announces decision to quit DTM after 2020

Audi has announced it will not take part in the DTM beyond the 2020 season, plunging the championship's future into doubt.

Audi announces decision to quit DTM after 2020

The Ingolstadt brand made the announcement on Monday, citing the desire to focus its energies on its Formula E and customer racing projects and also the negative economic consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Audi had however been known to be weighing up its future involvement in the German tin-top series even before the COVID-19 crisis.

The decision follows parent brand Volkswagen's decision to terminate its non-electric motorsport programmes last year, and leaves BMW as the DTM's only manufacturer.

"Audi has shaped the DTM and the DTM has shaped Audi," commented Markus Duesmann, Audi's Chairman of the Board of Management. "This demonstrates what power lies in motorsport – technologically and emotionally. 

“With this energy, we’re going to drive our transformation into a provider of sporty, sustainable electric mobility forward. That’s why we’re also focusing our efforts on the race track and systematically competing for tomorrow’s ‘Vorsprung.’

"Formula E offers a very attractive platform for this. To complement it, we’re investigating other progressive motorsport formats for the future.”

Berger admits DTM future up in the air

Audi's exit comes as another heavy blow to the DTM, not long after it suffered the loss of the R-Motorsport Aston Martin squad after just a single season.

A 16-car grid had been assembled for this year's coronavirus-delayed campaign, with Audi upping its involvement to nine cars, including three to be fielded by customer team WRT.

ITR chairman Gerhard Berger responded to the news of Audi's withdrawal in a statement, admitting that the DTM's future is now entering a critical phase.

It read: "Today is a difficult day for motorsport in Germany and across Europe. 

"I deeply regret Audi's decision to withdraw from the DTM after the 2020 season. While we respect the board's position, the short-term nature of this announcement presents ITR, our partner BMW, and our teams with a number of specific challenges.

"Given our common association, and the particular difficulties we all face during the COVID-19 pandemic, we would have hoped for a more united approach.

"This decision worsens the situation, and the future of the DTM now very much depends on how our partners and sponsors react to this decision. Nevertheless, I fully expect Audi to undertake its planned exit properly, responsibly and in full partnership with ITR.

"My commitment remains to the year ahead, and to ensuring we provide our hundreds of thousands of fans with a thrilling and competitive season.

"But, as soon as possible, I also want to create planning security for our participating teams, sponsors and everybody whose job depends on the DTM."

Audi has been a mainstay of the DTM since the championship's relaunch in 2000, first in semi-official guise with Abt Sportsline's TT-R programme and since 2004 as a full works entrant.

It was also part of the 'old' DTM for three seasons in 1990-92, scoring two titles in that time, and scored a further nine crowns in the current era of the series with Laurent Aiello, Mattias Ekstrom, Timo Scheider, Martin Tomczyk, Mike Rockenfeller and most recently Rene Rast.

shares
comments
Auer has made "huge step" since Super Formula stint

Previous article

Auer has made "huge step" since Super Formula stint

Next article

Super GT, DTM unlikely to hold 2020 Dream Race

Super GT, DTM unlikely to hold 2020 Dream Race
Load comments
How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream" Prime

How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet.

DTM
Sep 18, 2021
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Prime

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works.

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Prime

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021
Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM Prime

Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM

The DTM moves into its bold new GT3 era with welcome support from Red Bull, which enters two AF Corse-run Ferraris. That includes one for ex-F1 driver Alex Albon, who’s determined to make a success of his GT switch

DTM
Jun 17, 2021
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Prime

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One ruleset, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race.

DTM
Oct 14, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis? Prime

Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Prime

Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers

Audi last week announced it would be exiting the DTM at the end of 2020, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of continuous participation since the series' reboot in 2000.

DTM
May 5, 2020
Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit Prime

Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit

Audi's announcement that it will withdraw from the DTM at the end of 2020 was the latest blow for a series that has lost three manufacturers in as many years. Some major soul-searching will now be required to assess how it can survive.

DTM
Apr 28, 2020