Lucas Auer and BMW announce split after just one season

Lucas Auer and BMW have mutually agreed to part ways after just a single year competing together in the DTM.

Auer joined BMW as a factory driver last year to return to the DTM, where he had previously competed for rival manufacturer Mercedes until the end of its programme in 2018.

The Austrian driver scored the marque’s first win of the season at Lausitzring, leading a 1-2 ahead of Timo Glock, and added a second podium finish at Zolder later that year. However, inconsistent form meant he finished the campaign down in 12th place in the standings, only ahead of Philipp Eng within the BMW stable.

With the DTM moving away from Class One rules in 2021 for a privateer-based GT3 formula, BMW’s participation in the series remains unlikely until its new M4-based GT3 challenger is homologated in September, which would have potentially left Auer without an option to remain in the series this year.

BMW has also downscaled its involvement in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to just four races that constitute the Michelin Endurance Cup, while its Formula E programme will come to a close at the end of the 2020/21 season.

Auer said he and BMW have split on good terms, citing their inability to put together a programme for the 2021 season.

“When we agreed to work together at the beginning of last year, the focus was on the future,” Auer said. “The focus of both myself and BMW Motorsport was clearly on the DTM. We then had an exciting and at times difficult season – mainly due to Corona, of course. Nevertheless, I managed a victory and a podium. 

“Due to the restructuring of the DTM after Audi’s announced withdrawal, the situation had to be re-evaluated. Together with BMW Motorsport situation in many discussions and had to come to the conclusion that we were not really able to find an optimal solution for both sides in terms of future orientation. That is why we have decided to [end our] cooperation prematurely.

“My goal is very clear: I want to be in a top championship again this year. I want to compete for victories in a top championship again this year.”

Auer was also absent from the IMSA season-opening Rolex 24 last weekend, where BMW called in three of its 2020 DTM drivers, Marco Wittmann, Glock and Eng, to boost its line-up.

The 26-year-old, who raced in Super Formula with Red Bull backing in 2019 prior to rejoining DTM, also tested BMW’s Formula E car last year but the German manufacturer instead signed Jake Dennis to take the seat vacated by Mahindra-bound Alexander Sims.

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