BMW announced plans for the 2012 season at the BMW Sports Trophy Award presentation in Munich on Saturday. Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt reaffirmed that participation in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) series would be the primary focus of the program, and announced that BMW Team RLL would return to defend the American Le Mans Series GT class drivers’, team, and manufacturers’ titles.
Beyond that, Marquardt noted that BMW would focus on customer racing in Europe with the Z4 GT3, and would continue to support customer racing with the BMW 320 TC and the M3 GT4. However, he noted that “no significant innovations” are planned for either the 320 TC or the M3 GT4.
The latest DTM news had been released several days before the Munich event, when BMW announced that Martin Tomczyk, the reigning DTM champion, would be added to its driver lineup. Tomcyzk, who has raced in the DTM for Audi since 2001, will join Andy Priaulx, Augusto Farfus, and Bruno Spengler in the DTM M3s. Additional drivers will be named later. Tomcyzk has raced in the DTM for Audi since 2001. (Text continues after photos)
Meanwhile, while Marquardt confirmed Team RLL’s return to the ALMS, he announced no driver lineup for the team. He said “It goes without saying that we will not be sending a successful car like the BMW M3 GT off to the museum after a season like the one we enjoyed in 2011. BMW Team RLL will be back with this model to defend its GT titles next year.”
The driver lineup for the ALMS team will be announced later, most likely when the rest of the DTM drivers have been selected. Last year Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, and Dirk Werner drove for RLL. All but Auberlen have tested the DTM cars.
While BMW Team RLL contested the North American rounds of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in 2011, BMW Team Schnitzer ran the M3 GT program that contested the European and Asian rounds. This year, Team Schnitzer is competing in DTM along with BMW Team RBM and BMW Team RMG. There is no indication that it will return to GT racing in 2012, or that any factory team will contest the World Endurance Championship, the replacement for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
As for Le Mans itself, BMW Team RLL has an invitation because of its ALMS championship, but no announcement has been made about BMW participation in the 2012 race.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News