Leading Audi DTM outfit Abt Sportsline has confirmed that it will continue in the championship next year as a private team running a pair of Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos.
The German squad is the first existing DTM competitor to lock in a commitment to the series beyond the recent conclusion of the factory-based Class One ruleset.
As Audi Sport Team Abt, the team this year ran title race protagonists Nico Mueller and Robin Frijns who finished second and third in the standings to Audi Sport Team Rosberg driver Rene Rast.
Abt Sportsline will extend its long-held association with Audi by running two customer cars for the DTM’s adoption of unmodified GT3 machinery next year.
A driver lineup has not yet been announced.
Abt started out in the DTM as a privateer team and won the first of its five titles as an independent entry before gaining Audi Sport factory backing for the 2004 season.
The team has won 67 races while its five drivers’ championships came with Laurent Aiello in 2002, Mattias Ekstrom in 2004 and 2007 and Timo Scheider in 2008-9.
“The DTM has been part of ABT Sportsline for 20 years and we want this to continue to be the case,” said Abt Sportsline managing partner Hans-Jürgen Abt.
“At the weekends, not only our fans but all 200 of our employees in Kempten shared our excitement, celebrations and suffering.
“This is where we’ve scored our greatest victories and have grown as a team. With our commitment, we want to send a message and join [DTM boss] Gerhard Berger in writing the next chapter of this fascinating racing series.”
Berger added: “ABT’s name is simply part of DTM because the team has been helping to shape the series for two decades. We are pleased that they continue to be committed to the DTM.”
The 2021 DTM campaign is due to start on May. 29-30 with a round at Igora Drive.