Jens Marquardt is set to step down from his role as the director of BMW Motorsport with an official announcement expected later on Friday, Autosport can reveal.
This could prelude to a major overhaul within BMW that could see all its factory and customer racing programmes being transferred under its high-performance M division.
This echoes Renault’s move to rebrand its Formula 1 team as Alpine – and return to the Le Mans 24 Hours under the same brand – and Mercedes’ decision to ramp up the involvement of its AMG division.
BMW pressently competes as a factory entrant in the DTM, IMSA SportsCar Championship and Formula E, but its DTM programme will cease after 2020 as part of the series’ switch to a customer racing formula.
The German manufacturer is pressently developing a new GT3 car based on the M4 that will be available for customers in 2022, but could make an early debut in its pre-homologation guise in the the DTM next year.
BMW will continue to compete in Formula E but there are rumours about its long-term involvement in the category.
Marquardt has been at the helm of BMW’s racing division since 2011 when he took over from Mario Theissen, but will step aside to make way for Markus Flasch, who is pressently the managing director of the German marque’s high-performance M sub-brand.
Marquardt, who previously worked as team manager for Toyota in Formula 1, helped the marque to make a winning return to the DTM with Bruno Spengler in 2012, before securing two more drivers’ titles in 2014 and ’16 with Marco Wittmann.
However, he was criticised for incurring massive development costs on the M8 GTE challenger that competed in just a single season of the World Endurance Championship before the marque withdrew from the series. However, the M8 remains in service in the GTLM class of IMSA.
An announcement regarding Marquardt’s departure from BMW Motorsport is expected later on Friday.
There was a significant change in BMW’s board this year when head of development Klaus Frohlich stepped down from his role after reaching the age of 60 – the maximum limit as per the company policy for board members.
Frohlich had been an important advocate for motorsport and all of BMW’s factory programmes were directly under his department.