Audi: HWA support will help Aston join DTM equal to us and BMW

Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass says the support Aston Martin's DTM programme will have from HWA means it will start on an "equal footing" to BMW and his manufacturer

Audi: HWA support will help Aston join DTM equal to us and BMW

Mercedes' decision to withdraw from the series at the end of 2018 prompted ITR boss Gerhard Berger to hold talks with a number of manufacturers to fill the void.

But that exit freed up HWA to continue in the DTM in 2019 under an Aston Martin license, in a joint venture with R-Motorsport.

HWA is the most successful team in DTM history, with Gary Paffett's 2018 title its 11th drivers' title.

Audi motorsport boss Gass said he expects the Aston Martin project to be a match for Audi and BMW thanks to HWA's experience.

"I expect Aston Martin to present itself on an equal footing, not least because their racing commitment will be operated by HWA," said Gass.

"They're going to be able to contribute their entire experience from all their years with Mercedes to this project.

"With our customer team, WRT, we at Audi are working together with a highly professional team that has celebrated many successes in Audi's customer racing programme for years.

"Now WRT wants to take the next step and move up to a higher level.

"I believe that they're absolutely capable of achieving this and do expect some positive surprises here and there."

Aston Martin's official confirmation came with the caveat that it would join the grid in 2019 "development permitting," and no drivers have so far been announced.

But series boss Berger said Aston's arrival proves the series can no longer be considered "too German".

"A fascinating marque with motorsport tradition is now on board in the DTM," said Berger.

"The R-Motorsport team that's exclusively licensed by Aston Martin embodies the internationalisation of the DTM.

"Nobody can claim anymore that the DTM is an all-German series."

The DTM's search for more manufacturers was focussed on European brands, but BMW has said the series must not rest even though it now has a third brand on the grid.

Berger added "stronger international characteristics" of the DTM will be made clearer from 2020, and reiterated that a new name for the series is under consideration.

The new-for-2019 Class One rulebook is a first step, with a joint-race planned between the DTM and Super GT in November.

Gass said Audi is keen for "further internationalisation".

"Placing and operating as high-calibre a championship as the DTM strictly in Germany is very difficult in the medium and long term," he said.

"That's why a further internationalisation is very attractive and important.

"Aston Martin's participation marks an important initial step in this direction.

"Another important step will be to change the name of the DTM.

"Whenever it came to attracting the interest of new manufacturers in the DTM in recent years we repeatedly experienced that the D [for Deutsche] in the DTM's brand name is a stumbling block for international manufacturers."

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