BMW to Enter the DTM in 2012. Interview with Dr. Mario Theissen.
BMW is to enter the DTM for the first time in 2012, where it is preparing to take on its rivals from Stuttgart and Ingolstadt. MPW members are not the only ones who are looking forward to the first race of the season. We asked the director of BMW Motorsport, Dr. Mario Theissen to tell us more about the current state of affairs.
Dr. Mario Theissen, director of BMW Motorsport and Hans Werner Aufrecht (ITR e.V.) in front of a BMW M3 E30 DTM (1992).
MPW: How far are you now with the preparations for BMW’s participation?
MT: The construction of the vehicle and engine has begun and the structure of the first test support is scheduled for the second quarter of 2011. This will be followed by the commencement of test operation. At the same time, the structure of BMW Motorsport is being adapted to accommodate the new requirements. MPW: Hans-Werner Aufrecht, head of the ITR responsible for marketing, announced in an interview with the magazine "Auto Motor und Sport" that costs would fall by over 50 percent compared with the current regulations – with about 60 percent standardised components. What does this say about the vehicles’ technical framework?
MT: The cost reduction in the reorganised DTM is one of the aspects that was particularly important to us. As far as the technical framework is concerned, it means that synergies can be exploited between the manufacturers. This is not unusual in the modern automobile industry. There is still plenty of leeway to allow us to distance ourselves from
the competition, whether in terms of engine design, chassis or
MPW: The construction of the vehicles will also allow them to take part in international racing events, such as those in Japan and the USA. Which racing events do you have in mind?
MT: The GrandAm series in the USA and the Japanese Super GT have displayed great interest and we find both series extremely appealing.
BMW M3 GT2.
MPW: Will BMW continue to enter the WTCC in future?
MT: We have recently begun supplying private BMW teams involved in the WTCC with a kit based on the S2000 regulations, which come into force in the WTCC from 2011, designed to allow them to refit their vehicles for the new 1.6 litre turbo engine. In other words, you will definitely be seeing BMW racing vehicles again in the coming year in the WTCC. Whether we wish to enter a works model in the championship will be decided on in the next few weeks.
MPW: What significance will BMW’s participation in the DTM have on its future motorsport involvement with the BMW M3 GT2 in the American Le Mans Series and the classic long-distance races in Europe, where BMW caused quite a stir when it won the 24h classic at the Nürburgring?
MT: Long-distance racing is a completely different animal to a high-speed sprint contest such as the DTM, and the fascination it invokes is quite a different one. BMW is at home on this stage and so it will remain. As for the 2011 programme, the decisions will be made shortly.