Nooo! Audi is pulling out of DTM

By topgear, 29 April 2020

Big news for tin-top racing fans: Audi has announced it will pull out of DTM at the end of the season, leaving BMW as the series’ only manufacturer.

This isn’t a result of COVID-19, either. Rather electricity. Audi states that it wants to focus its efforts on electric and customer racing programmes – such as its Formula E and stripped out GT3 and TCR car efforts. No doubt the dire economic consequences of the current global coronavirus pandemic have also helped give them a nudge on the bum out the door too, but it’s another DTM stalwart to fall.

Audi follows in the footsteps of Mercedes, another DTM legend that stepped away from the fast and fighty championship for the staid and silent circus of Formula E back in 2018. Then the R-Motorsport-operated Aston Martin team teased us about going all-in on DTM only to leave prior to the 2020 season, leaving only one manufacturer in the championship: BMW. And a racing series that’s definitely not a one-make series with only one manufacturer doesn’t really work. Now, what’s that phrase about being up a creek without a paddle again? That’s DTM right now.

Gerhard Berger, the man who famously tossed Ayrton Senna’s briefcase out of a moving helicopter and now chairman of DTM’s promoters ITR, called Audi’s announcement “difficult”.

“Today is a difficult day for motorsport in Germany and across Europe,” Berger said. “I deeply regret Audi’s decision to withdraw from the DTM after the 2020 season.

“While we respect the board’s position, the short-term nature of this announcement presents ITR, our partner BMW and our teams with a number of specific challenges.”


One of those ‘specific challenges’ being, how the hell do you go racing with one manufacturer? It’s not like Audi were crap and cutting their losses, either. Audi dominated the most recent DTM championship run, claiming Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles with its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged RS5 silhouette model. Audi’s Rene Rast won his second DTM title in three years last season, taking Audi’s tally to nine championships in the post-2000 era - second only to Mercedes.

This news is all a bit depressing for people who like noisy, boisterous racing. The original DTM formula stretches all the way back to 1984, and the history of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters includes some of the coolest racing machinery to ever lap tracks around the planet. Now that could all be in jeopardy.