DTM squad MTEK is set to run BMW’s new FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Pro program, with longtime partner Schnitzer returning to GT racing next year, as part of a reorganization in BMW’s motorsports operations.
The German manufacturer confirmed Tuesday that both MTEK and Schnitzer will not field DTM entries next year, and instead focused on new fronts.
Schnitzer will undertake a yet-to-be-detailed GT3 program with the BMW M6 GT3 around the Nürburgring 24, with the Ernest Knoors-led MTEK squad set to begin testing and development of BMW’s new GTE-Pro entry for the WEC, which will debut in 2018.
“I am convinced that this is the best team structure to help us prepare for our new tasks,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.
“We have always been sure that we wanted to continue the successful cooperation with all our teams. We had to adjust our structures due to the changes in the DTM, and new possibilities and areas of operation opened up for us in our newly-reorganized motorsport program.
“[Schnitzer] has always enjoyed close links to GT racing throughout its history, and has had some great results there. The GT fans can look forward to some excitement when we inject new life into this combination at the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in 2017.
“BMW Team MTEK proved to be an excellent BMW representative in the DTM in recent years. It’s planned that it will now devote itself completely to preparations for our entry into the FIA WEC.
“I would like to thank Charly Lamm, Ernest Knoors and their crews for their dedication throughout the past DTM seasons – and we can now look forward to competing together in many more races in the future.”
It will mark Schnitzer’s return to GT racing since 2011, when it fielded BMW M3 GT entries in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
The Charly Lamm-led operation is a five-time winner of the Nürburgring 24 and has achieved worldwide success in the GT ranks with the manufacturer.
“Everyone knows that BMW Team Schnitzer has a very close association with GT racing, and a great passion for endurance races,” Lamm said. “At the same time, there is obviously a degree of melancholy at having to bid farewell to the DTM.
“However, we now embark on a new chapter in our long history with BMW.
“Accordingly, we will go about our work for the coming year in determined mood. We are very much looking forward to the races with the BMW M6 GT3.”
Despite Schnitzer’s arrival on to the GT3 scene, customer support of the ROWE Racing and Team Schubert teams will continue.
MTEK’s Knoors added: “We are really looking forward to the new challenge that awaits us in the FIA WEC. The standard is extremely high there as well.
“2017 will be a year of intensive preparation and then we will be able to compete with the other teams in the following year.”
BMW has yet to announce the car model that will be developed for the WEC and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, although it’s widely believed to be based on the new M8.