Mercedes Quits DTM: Will Compete Against Jaguar in Formula E
Mercedes-Benz to join Jaguar in Formula E fray for the 2019-2020 season.
With both BMW and Audi already planning to enter Formula E, it’s not a big surprise that Mercedes are following them. The real surprise is that Mercedes are leaving the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) series to do so.
They have been at the center of DTM since the late ’80s, and again since its relaunch at the beginning of this century. When Mercedes go, it will leave only BMW and Audi in the series. That raises big questions about the future of DTM. The series is unlikely to just quit, but Mercedes clearly doesn’t value it anymore.
DTM is often described as “NASCAR with a German accent”. It’s not entirely accurate but it does help convey how well loved it is on a national level. As Mercedes quits DTM, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff’s words may ring a little hollow to the fans:
“Our years in the DTM will always be held high as a major chapter in our motorsport history. 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.”
Gambling on the future:
Mercedes clearly believes Formula E is going to be important. They originally signed an agreement with Formula E Holdings late last year to enter the 2018/2019 season. However, Mercedes are giving themselves extra time to get things right:
“I am pleased that we were able to extend our entry option for one year to the 2019/20 season. This gives us time to properly understand the series and to prepare for our entry in the right way.”
Formula E is happy to welcome Mercedes into the series. Of the current teams racing, Faraday Future, NIO and DS are new racing teams with little name recognition. Jaguar Racing and DAMS came to Formula E with racing pedigrees that gave Formula E some much needed credibility. Adding BMW, Audi and now Mercedes should help turn up public awareness a couple of notches. It will be interesting to see how many of their fans they bring with them.
Whether that will work out in the long term for Mercedes after snubbing DTM and its fans is unclear. But it is clear Mercedes are putting a lot of belief into their ‘e-mobility’ brand called EQ :
“Mercedes-Benz will market future battery powered electric vehicles using the EQ label. Formula E is a significant step in order to demonstrate the performance of our attractive battery powered electric vehicles, as well as giving an emotional spin to our EQ technology brand through motorsport and marketing.” – Dr. Jens Thiemer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz
Only time will tell how it works out for Mercedes taking all their DTM eggs out of that basket to put them into electric car racing. However, it can only be a good thing for the electric series.
Electric car racing has its neigh-sayers, but it’s starting to gain some real traction. Having all the big German brands follow Jaguar Racing and DAMS lead into Formula E is huge news.