BMW has announced that it will not enter a factory team in the 2011 World Touring Car Championship, although it will still provide its re-engined 320 TC for customer squads.
The move leaves Chevrolet plus single-car newcomer Volvo as the only fully-fledged works entrants lined up for next year's WTCC, with SEAT having withdrawn its factory effort a car ago - although the ex-works SEAT team has continued to run cars independently.
BMW's outgoing motorsport boss Mario Thiessen said: "The BMW 320 TC, powered by the newly-developed 1.6-litre four-cylinder (DI-)turbo engine, will expand our customer racing offering, and be entered in the World Touring car Championship by private teams."
The company's WTCC programme had been in question following BMW's decision to join the DTM from 2012. Its 2010 works drivers Andy Priaulx and Augusto Farfus will focus on the BMW GT effort next year, with the M3 GT2 set to run in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.
BMW won the first three titles in the revived WTCC with Priaulx between 2005 and '07.
In recent years it expressed some frustration at the efforts to achieve a performance balance between it and Chevrolet's petrol engines and SEAT's turbodiesels, while its 2010 title bid came to an early end when the works cars were disqualified from the Okayama event for running a non-homologated gearbox.
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th