The soaring profile of the all-electric FIA Formula E championship will be further boosted later in 2018 by an official entry from Mercedes-Benz.
The German manufacturer has announced that it is to follow rival BMW into the series, making space for Formula E by quitting its home DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) touring car series. Already Formula E boasts entries from Audi, DS Automobiles, Jaguar, Renault and electric car manufacturer Faraday Future.
Mercedes-Benz will leave the DTM at the end of the 2018 season and begin competing with a Formula E team in the 2019-20 season. According to motorsport head Toto Wolff this will see the brand competing at both ends of the motorsport spectrum – in Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport combining high technology and the most demanding competitive challenge; and in Formula E, which embodies the transformation that is underway in the automotive industry.
DTM future uncertain
The departure of Mercedes-Benz will, however, leave question marks hanging over the future of the manufacturer-based DTM series, with only BMW and Audi left competing. Since the DTM was founded in 1988, Mercedes-Benz has competed in 26 seasons, winning 10 drivers’, 13 team and six manufacturer titles and taking 183 individual race victories.
When the DTM was effectively ‘reborn’ in 2000, Mercedes-Benz was one of its core manufacturers alongside Audi and Opel, the three brands providing the entire 20-car grid. Opel withdrew at the end of 2005, BMW joining the series in 2012.
“Our years in the DTM will always be held high as a major chapter in the motorsport history of Mercedes,” commented Wolff. “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.”