An element of uncertainty is hanging over the future of DTM following the dissolution of parent company ITR. The organisation remain hopeful of a sale to German automobile club ADAC and at this stage negotiations are ongoing.
ITR chairman Gerhard Berger is optimistic this does not mean an end for the world-renowned series, despite announcing they will not be organising the 2023 season in a statement issued last night.
“The discussions with the ADAC are very constructive, but there is still no final decision,” Berger said. “But since we have corporate responsibility, we have to clarify things now. We have decided that the ITR will no longer advertise the DTM 2023.”
“Against the background of the given framework conditions and in view of the numerous challenges, the economic risk for the next year is too great.
“Personally, I very much regret that, because the entire team worked very hard for the success of the DTM. But even without the ITR, there can be a future for the DTM brand at the ADAC. That’s why we’re still in dialogue with the ADAC.”
The calendar for next season was expected in September but has been pushed back multiple times. It was believed this was due to potential schedule clashes with Formula 1 and ADAC’s GT Masters. Whilst it’s unclear if today’s news also contributed to that delay, it means there’s an expected time period of just over five months before the first round traditionally takes place with no firm plans in place as of yet.
The result may see DTM forfeit the 2023 season. No announcement has been made in this regard as of yet.
ITR’s dissolution comes after a difficult three year period, including the 2020 season where they raced in front of empty stands. General economic downturn has also contributed to their difficulties, caused by events such as the war in Ukraine.
They previously shared financial responsibility of DTM with Audi and BMW but both manufacturers withdrew in 2020, ITR being the sole funder since. Both companies are reported to have expressed interest in rejoining, according to motorsport.com, but are unable to so so until DTM commits to holding an electric series.
ITR, along with partners Schaeffler and Mahle, are working on developing such a competition but the cost of doing so is high. Planning is also still in the early stages, the launch not expected until 2024.
Audi and BMW are both committed to series who have a focus in emission reduction to align with their corporate values.
As the largest car club in Germany, with 25 million members, ADAC do have the resources to take on the series should they desire. They also have solid financial resources and regularly turn a profit.
GT Masters is also a well-established series in Europe, that competition rivaling DTM. Should the sale proceed then they’ll be in control of both categories. This also means costs could be reduced through joint race meets however few circuits have the capacity to accommodate such a large number of GTs in pit lane.
It’s not the first time the series has come into difficulty, it’s predecessor, the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, collapsing at the end of the 1996 campaign. It was three years before Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters was established as a ITR e.V. sanctioned competition.
Since it’s inception a number of world-renowned drivers have competed, including the likes of Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Jean Alesi and Ralf Schumacher.
New Zealand has also experienced success in racing, most recently through the likes of Liam Lawson and Nick Cassidy who competed for AlphaTauri AF Corse in successive seasons.
More news is expected on the future of the series in the near future.
It’s hoped that one of Europe’s premier classes of GT racing will survive as a new age of ownership begins.