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Customer BMWs Unlikely in 2019, Focus Shifted to 2020

Customer BMW DTM cars unlikely for 2019, according to Jens Marquardt…

Photo: BMW

It is unlikely that there will be any customer BMWs on the DTM grid this season, with the manufacturer instead shifting its focus to possible 2020 entries.

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt revealed that the Munich-based manufacturer has struggled to find any partner teams to run an additional pair of M4 DTMs.

DTM organizer ITR has pushed for customer teams this year, with manufacturers preparing to supply two cars to interested customer teams, to run in addition to their main factory entries.

The only team to commit to this model is WRT which is set to run a pair of Audi RS5 DTMs independently from the six main Audi Sport entries.

“We haven’t really found anybody, we’ve already started talking about 2020 to people, because that whole thing has a certain leeway in preparation time,” said Marquardt.

“But you have to first find someone who can run a self-sustained program.

“Definitely it’s not a case of just running two more cars as factory because that’s diverting completely from the idea of having privateer teams being involved in DTM, to have more spread in the future.

“[This] is really the right idea from ITR and Gerhard, so having more factory cars won’t help in that respect.”

While BMW hasn’t completely ruled out customer cars for the coming season, which gets underway on May 4-5 at Hockenheim, Marquardt says the focus is now on finding teams for 2020.

“In 2019, we’ve still got a lot of discussions but most of the teams are more focused on getting things together with drivers and sponsors for 2020, rather than having something halfway through 2019, so I would say it doesn’t really look like it,” he said.

“We’re now pushing really hard on at least getting it as early as possible for 2020.”

One of the teams associated with a possible customer program was ROWE Racing which had been in talks with BMW throughout last year.

However, team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf revealed to Sportscar365 earlier this year that the plans had been scrapped due to the high costs involved.

“BMW made us an offer of what we had to bring and it was much too high to find the money for, including with pay drivers,” Naundorf said in January.

Meanwhile, WRT appears to be struggling to find suitable drivers for its two-car Audi program, having announced only one driver, Jonathan Aberdein, at its launch last week.

As it stands, next season’s DTM grid is set to feature 18 cars, with six factory entries apiece from Audi and BMW, two WRT Audis and four R-Motorsport Aston Martins.

It therefore keeps the full-season grid size the same as last season, when Audi, BMW and Mercedes-AMG each entered six cars.

John Dagys contributed to this report.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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