An interview with Jens Marquardt: “Our commitment to the DTM has paid dividends”.

The 2018 DTM season draws to a close at the weekend with races
19 and 20 at the Hockenheimring (GER). Even before the grand finale,
sights are already set on the future: On Thursday, the ITR announced
its plans for the coming years. Aston Martin will join the DTM as a
new manufacturer. In an interview, BMW Motorsport Director Jens
Marquardt talks about the future of the DTM, the collaborative work
in recent months, and the role of BMW.


After a number of turbulent months, the future of the DTM is
now safe. Are you happy?


Jens Marquardt: “We are happy and proud that all the efforts and
commitment on various levels in the past weeks and months have paid
off. When Mercedes, to everyone’s surprise, suddenly announced they
would be turning their back on the DTM, the series’ existence was in
jeopardy. We then rolled our sleeves up quickly and promised to fight
for this spectacular series for the fans – which is exactly what we
did. Our early commitment to the DTM was a very important signal; many
other steps followed. Together with the ITR, Gerhard Berger and Audi,
we then resolutely expedited the specific plans, whether now in the
Class One regulations, marketing or internationalisation. Standing
shoulder to shoulder with the Japanese Super GT manufacturers and the
Aston Martin works entry clearly shows that our commitment to the DTM
has paid dividends.”




How do you assess the entry of Aston Martin in the series?


Marquardt: “All I can say is: Welcome to the DTM, Aston Martin. The
entry is fantastic news for the DTM and its fans. It is more than an
important signal for the future of the series and gives us, and
hopefully other interested manufacturers, planning reliability for the
coming years. Aston Martin is a respected and esteemed competitor in
GT racing. We are now looking forward to being able to compete with
Aston Martin in the DTM as well.”


Were there times at which you doubted there would be a
successful solution for the DTM?


Marquardt: “We certainly never doubted that the DTM is a fantastic
and, in this form, unique platform for motorsport – with terrific
action on track, the best touring car drivers in the world and a very
special closeness with fans. However, it was also clear that the
framework had to be right for everyone involved. Naturally, this
always included the desire to enter the ring with at least two other manufacturers.”


What was the key to success?


Marquardt: “Everyone played their part. With our commitment, we gave
Gerhard Berger a good proposal, which he received gratefully and then
utilised perfectly. All our thanks go to him; it was with dedication,
motorsport expertise and a lot of hard work that as captain he
superlatively navigated the DTM through the rough seas.  His part in
the positive future prospects of the DTM can’t be emphasised highly enough.”


Has the DTM reached its peak with this positive prospect?


Marquardt: “No, definitely not. Standing still in motorsport is the
same as going backwards. Now is the time to use the new beginning and
take many more steps in the right direction. The focus remains on
internationalisation, which was one of the premises of our rejoining
the series and is still of fundamental importance. This applies to the
strengthening and further elaboration of the partnership with the
Japanese manufacturers at international level, as well as the further
expansion of the DTM platform in Europe. We are certain that the
series, with this more than stable prospect, will be very interesting
for other manufacturers.”


What are your plans for the coming months?


Marquardt: “The saying ‘after the season is before the season’ is
more applicable for us this year than ever. The new ‘Class One’
regulations come into force next year – our preparations for this are
in full swing. We will soon have the first roll-out of the new car,
followed by the first tests. We are all really looking forward to it.
This is a fantastic development for the DTM. A significant increase in
power, with comparable downforce, means that the driver will play an
even bigger role than before.”