We have bad news for fans of exciting, noisy racing. Mercedes has announced it will quit DTM at the end of the 2018 season. Instead of being part of a fighty, exciting championship where cars literally punt eachother off to win, the Stuttgart brand is now channelling its energy towards Formula E, having confirmed a Formula E entry in 2019/20.
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.
With this shock news, 2019 will be the first time since 1987 that Merc won’t be part of the tin-top championship. Its departure will leave the German series with only two manufacturers (BMW and Audi). Which is upsetting. And a bit, erm, crap, as it’s gloriously old-school, with each car running naturally aspirated V8s making around 375kW, crazy aero and a fiercely competitive grid. The decision to pull the ripcord has left both BMW and Audi (who currently have involvement in Formula E) “evaluating” the future of DTM.
“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.”
Like BMW, Mercedes initially signed an agreement late last year with Formula E to join in season five (2018/19). Instead, it’s deferred its entry until the following season to “give time to properly understand” Formula E and “prepare for our entry in the right way.”
At best, Formula E is a fledgeling formula that’s currently propped up by big marketing budgets and eco intentions rather than memorable on-track action. So we’re not ashamed to say that we’re a little bit sad to see Mercedes pull out of such an iconic and exciting championship.
Now, with Audi ditching Le Mans (after a highly successful 18-year presence in endurance racing) and the WEC in favour for Formula E, plus Mercedes pulling out of DTM pushing a hefty stack of chips the way of silent single-seater, what shock upset could we see next?