Audi in shock withdrawal from DTM
Audi’s decision to withdraw from the DTM at the end of 2020 has caused huge ripples in the DTM giving the economic challenges due to the corona pandemic. However, the German carmaker is still committed to Formula E and in customer racing.
“Audi has shaped the DTM and the DTM has shaped Audi,” said Markus Duesmann, Audi’s Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “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.”
Audi looks back on an extremely successful past in DTM. Having scored 23 championship titles, including eleven driver titles, plus 114 victories, 345 podium finishes, 106 pole positions and 112 fastest laps, Audi shaped the DTM from 1990 to 1992 and from 2000 onwards. With three of three possible championship titles, numerous podiums and many other records, 2019 has so far been the most successful DTM season in the company’s history.
Audi would like to continue these successes in the 2020 season and bid farewell to the DTM fans with a successful title defence in all three championships. “We’re hoping that this currently difficult situation will improve soon and that we’ll still be able to contest a few DTM races this year,” said Audi board member for development Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler. “The fans would deserve this, and so would the ITR, our drivers as well as our teams and partners, who will now have adequate advance notice to reposition themselves for the time after 2020.”
“Today is a difficult day for motorsport in Germany and across Europe,” said Gerhard Berger, ITR e v chairman in a statement released to the media. “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.”