BMW Motorsport announced on Friday, October 16 that on November 1, Jens Marquardt will move into a new role in the company, managing the pilot plant for overall prototype construction. BMW says that “Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH, will take interim charge of BMW Group Motorsport. The works involvement in the FIA Formula E World Championship and GT racing will continue.”
Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, says, “Jens Marquardt has been responsible for our involvement in motorsport since 2011. During this time, we have achieved great success: the DTM titles in 2012, 2014, and 2016, as well as various overall and class victories at endurance classics like Daytona, Spa and, most recently, the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. I would like to thank Jens Marquardt and his entire team very much for that. Head of the Pilot Plant for prototype construction is a fundamental role in the development process. With the agile working method and his motorsport experience, Jens Marquardt will provide new impetus there.”
Marquardt’s career before he replaced Dr. Mario Theissen at BMW Motorsport included a stint as manager of the Toyota Formula One team. He said, “I will always have emotional memories of the past ten years. I have experienced all the highs and lows of motorsport with an exceptional team. The overall victory at the Nürburgring 24-hour race was the icing on the cake at the end of this exciting time. I am very grateful to BMW Group and the whole motorsport family for all these memories. After 25 years in motorsport, I am very much looking forward to a new challenge.”
The Nürburgring 24 win was a highlight for Marquardt and BMW Motorsport in a year in which the marque has struggled in Formula E and DTM. And while the M8 GTE is doing well in IMSA this year, the M8 GTE program, launched on Marquardt’s watch, was withdrawn from World Endurance Series competition after a single season. As pledged in its release on Marquardt’s departure, BMW will stay in both GT Racing and Formula E. It will depart DTM as the current format for the series ends this year. There is some speculation that it may run the new M4 GT3 in a revised DTM next season in advance of the worldwide launch of the car in 2022.
Autorsport speculates that BMW factory and customer racing may be permanently folded into BMW M.—Brian Morgan
[Photo courtesy BMW Motorsport.]