The sudden move happens on April 1.
It's been a strange time for BMW Motorsport. The most confounding news was that BMW wouldn't compete in the German touring car championship, DTM, this year. DTM is hallowed ground for BMW and where the 3 Series' fearsome reputation was born. Likewise, BMW Motorsport pulled out of Formula E, and this year the M8 GTE cars will only take part in four IMSA races in the US. Now, according to Motorsport Magazin, BMW Motorsport is preparing to merge with BMW M GmbH as of April 1, 2021. Whether it's a downsizing move or BMW is consolidating skills and experience to build something big, like a Le Mans Hypercar class racer, it is hard to tell.
According to the report, former BMW Head of Race and Test Engineering, Operations & Organization, Mike Krack, will take the motorsport department's helm. There, he will report to BMW M GmbH Managing Director Markus Flasch. Flasch has been acting as head of motorsport since Jens Marquardt left for another position late last year. Marquardt had been running the division since 2011 and oversaw, amongst other victories, the DTM championship wins of 2012, 2014, and 2016. He was also in charge of endurance class and overall victories at Daytona, Spa, and the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring.
The focus this year will be the continued development of the BMW M4 GT3 race car, which will replace the BMW M6 GT3. The M4 GT3 will be homologated, then raced outside of DTM later in 2021. It will join the BMW M2 CS and M4 GT4 in the "customer sports segment" for privateers.
The idea of competing in the LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) category must be enticing for BMW M. BMW already has expertise in hybrid tech and fully-electric vehicles, and Audi and Porsche are already lined up to compete in the championship. As well as old national rivalries, it must also be on the wish list for BMW to take on Ferrari again head to head in motorsport.