DTM racing is to Germans what NASCAR is to Americans. It is what V-8 SuperCars racing is to Australians. In other words, it’s a really, really big deal. The idea of a German manufacturer not taking part in DTM sedan racing competition is unthinkable. Mercedes has been one of those manufacturers since 2000. But after 2018, it will quit the series and go electric open wheel racing in Formula E instead.
“Our years in the DTM will always be held high as a major chapter in the motorsport history of Mercedes,” said Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff. “I want to thank every team member whose fantastic work has helped to make Mercedes-Benz the most successful DTM manufacturer during that time. Although leaving is tough for all of us, we will be doing everything during this season and next to make sure we win as many DTM titles as possible before we go. We owe that to our fans and to ourselves.”
After Mercedes leaves the series, only BMW and Audi will remain. DTM features exciting racing action and has been a stepping stone for many drivers seeking to hone their competitive skills as they climb the ladder to higher forms of international racing.
Mercedes’ Wolff reconfirmed the company’s commitment to Formula One while looking forward to its new venture with Formula E. It signed a letter of intent with the electric car racing series last year for the 2018 season, but has decided to wait one more year. It will begin racing in Formula E in 2019, which will mark the start of the sport’s sixth season.
The one year delay will “give us time to properly understand” Formula E and “prepare for our entry in the right way,” Wolff says. “In motorsport like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and to explore innovative new projects. The combination of Formula 1 and Formula E delivers that. Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture. It offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies.
“Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience — and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series.” Electric racing will be an excellent companion to Mercedes’ first all electric vehicles from its new EQ division. The first car from that division is expected to be an SUV with at least 300 miles of range. It is projected to be available in 2019.
Major manufacturers are piling into Formula E. Recently, Audi announced it would shut down its endurance racing program to compete in the electric racing series. Some think Formula E may eventually make Formula One irrelevant. That could happen, but if it does, it will due more to incompetence by Formula One teams and management than any threat from Formula E. Now if only Tesla would get involved, that would be the icing on the cake.
Source: Inside EVs