We’re only a week away from BMW Motorsport revealing the 2012 M3 DTM car that will battle it out with the likes of Audi and Mercedes-Benz next year. The 2012 re-entry of the M3 into the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters(German Touring Cars) marks the first time in 20 years that a factory-backed BMW has laid rubber to road in the series.
For those unaware, DTM, in it’s original format, was where the legendary original M3, the E30, cut its teeth by decimating the likes of Mercedes 190E Cosworths, Alfa Romeos and Opels. After many victories and successes, thanks to incredible pairings with drivers like Roberto Ravaglia) in DTM, BMW ultimately decided to bow out of the series due to increasing costs and to focus on larger scale motorsport programs like the European World Touring Car Championship and, eventually, a re-entry into Formula One.
Two decades on, the tables have turned. BMW has withdrawn from Formula One all together and pulled its factory 320Si’s from the World Touring Car Championship( successor to the European Touring Car Championship) to refocus BMW Motorsport’s attention around the M3 and related programs. As such, BMW will bring the E92 M3 back to the new iteration of DTM which promises to refocus series regulations on technologies and performance more akin to series cars’ road-going equivalents.
Starting next season, BMW will find itself going wheel-to-wheel with the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C Class, both of whom have occupied the series for some years now almost exclusively, all powered by massaged V8’s and rear-wheel-drive. The series itself is working towards a more international platform with negotiations underway of bringing a DTM season to a number of U.S.-based road courses and partnering with series’ like NASCAR and Grand AM to find a wider audience.
The picture featured in this article shows that the M3 DTM car looks very unique relative to its sister GT car competing in the ILC and American Le Mans Series – as noted by the substantial aerodynamic aids, low slung suspension, and frighteningly blistered wide body. However, our understanding is that the M3 DTM car will share an engine similar to that of the 4.0L V8 powering the ALMS M3 GT.
Watch this space for more in the next week as BMW officially pulls the wraps off of the 2012 M3 DTM car!
Via Jon Sibal