BMW has finally confirmed that it will return to the DTM in 2012, ending months of speculation.
The German manufacturer announced its intent to re-join the series in April this year, but has been in negotiations with DTM chiefs, Audi and Mercedes during the summer over the series' future regulations before fully committing.
BMW announced today that it will return to the DTM grid in 2012, 18 years after it departed the championship.
Dr Klaus Draeger, BMW AG board member, said: "The return of BMW to the DTM is a fundamental part of the restructuring of our motorsport activities. With its increased commitment to production car racing, BMW is returning to its roots.
"The race track is the perfect place to demonstrate the impressive sporting characteristics of our vehicles against our core competitors in a high-powered environment. The DTM is the ideal stage on which to do this."
BMW Motorsport boss Mario Theissen says he is pleased to be able to finally confirm that the brand will return to the DTM.
"The entire team at BMW Motorsport is approaching this exciting project with absolute commitment," he said. "We began making technical preparations following our declaration of intent in April, and established parameters for a high-performance vehicle concept for deployment in the DTM. The positive decision of the BMW board of management means we can now shift up a gear and give the green light for development."
BMW also confirmed its intention to use the M3 model as the base car for its DTM challenger.
DTM boss Hans Werner Aufrecht welcomed the arrival of BMW to the series alongside Mercedes and Audi.
"We welcome the decision by BMW to enter the DTM from 2012," he said. "This is a further milestone for the future of our popular racing series and proves our efforts over the past few years have paid off.
"We laid the foundation for this in conjunction with the DMSB [German motorsport body] and the existing DTM manufacturers, namely Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Therefore I would like to heartily thank all parties.
"I am personally looking forward to again seeing the three premium brands of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz competing against each other on the race track. Our fans have waited a long time for this."