BMW has taken the wraps off the M3 DTM concept car it will develop ahead of its return to the DTM championship next year, while also confirming – as suspected – that former World Touring Car Championship race-winners Andy Priaulx and Augusto Farfus have been named as its first two drivers for its 2012 programme.
Unveiled at a ceremony in Munich – where this year’s DTM runners are staging a ‘Race of Champions’ styled non-championship event – the new car is built to the series’ all-new low-cost regulations, and it will be the first car bearing the BMW badge in the championship for twenty years.
But the BMW management – headed by Jens Marquardt, who recently succeeded Mario Theissen in the role of Motorsport Director – was at pains to stress that the display model will undergo a radical overhaul on the road to being driven in anger next year.
“The BMW M3 DTM Concept Car is an important milestone on our route to the start of the 2012 season. The roll-out of the car [earlier this month] was successful, and we are now starting our test programme out on the track,” he said.
“Getting a new racing programme up and running is a bit like doing a jigsaw. New pieces are added almost every day, and we must put them together to create the big picture.”
BMW will run in the championship with three teams: long-term partners RBM and Schnitzer, as well as the new Team RMG squad.
Priaulx and Farfus come with an outstanding reputation from their days as BMW frontrunners in the WTCC: with over thirty series race wins between them (plus Priaulx hat-trick of World Championships between 2005-7) they will be a competitive force.
Meanwhile, established DTM marque Audi released images of its 2012 challenger on the same day as BMW’s lavish launch, in a move no doubt designed to draw some of the attention away from its Bavarian rivals.
Rival manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has not released details of its 2012 challenger – it’s not even known if it will use a saloon or coupe configuration – other than to confirm that its car will be based on one from its C-class range.
[Images via AUTOSPORT]