BMW M3 set to compete in DTM from 2012

Published: 30 April 2010

It might have pulled out of F1, but the upshot is that BMW has announced plans to enter the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in 2012 with the M3, plus it’s developing a new racer and 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, and will continue its other production car-based racing activities.

‘Following the withdrawal from Formula One, the realignment of our motorsport programme is raising our presence in production car racing to a whole new level,’ said BMW board member Dr. Klaus Draeger. ‘BMW sports and touring cars have achieved success right around the world, and have significantly influenced the brand’s sporting profile right from the word go. For that reason, we see it as a consistent step to return to our roots after bidding farewell to Formula One, and to expand our commitment to this discipline.’

So we’re going to see a BMW M3 compete in the DTM?

That’s the idea. BMW’s executive board has decided to ‘significantly expand its activities in the field of production car racing over the coming years’ and part of that plan is to enter the DTM in 2012. BMW, Mercedes and Audi have been discussing the technical future of the DTM since 2009, and it’s believed that new regulations (due in 2011) will help reduce costs by 40%, making the series much more attractive to the manufacturers. If these new regulations are ratified then BMW is expected to join the series in 2012.

‘The planned return to the DTM is an exciting challenge for our team,’ said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. ‘Over the coming months we will be making all the necessary technical preparations that should allow us to be competitive right from the start should we join the series in 2012. Thanks to its great tradition in production car racing, the BMW M3 is predestined to be used as the basic car.’

Is BMW Motorsport entering other series?

The new M3 GT2 will continue to race into 2011, and BMW Motorsport is busy developing a successor to the WTCC 320si too. Next year the FIA’s new Super2000 regulations will be introduced, so everything from the WRC to the WTCC will use turbo’d 1.6 four-pots, so BMW is developing a new blown engine, and a new race car to take the engine. 

Whether the new racer is a 3-series we don't yet know. With the M3 in DTM, BMW might enter the 1-series Coupe, especially with the forthcoming M1 needing some promotion...

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy