DTM has confirmed the entry of British manufacturer Aston Martin in the touring car championship to compete against BMW and Audi.

Aston Martin will enter in the championship through Team R-Motorsport which will be handled by the experienced team of HWA AG – which currently runs with Mercedes in the touring car series.

With Mercedes leaving the championship for Formula E, the news of Aston Martin joining DTM comes as a big relief for the series. Team R-Motorsport is part of AF Racing AG which has a solid partnership with the British manufacturer.

The push is for the team to run in the 2019 season which will depend on the development of Aston Martin Vantage cars to be used in the championship. The number of cars and the drivers to compete will be announced at a later stage.

Dr. Florian Kamelger, founder and co-owner, AF Racing AG and R-Motorsport, said: “We are delighted with joining together with Aston Martin a renowned top series with international orientation.

“Competing with premium manufacturers represents a major challenge for our brand. The new technical regulations and the extended international orientations of the series were important reasons for our decision.”

ITR’s chairman Gerhard Berger welcomed the British manufacturer to the DTM fold: “This decision of a luxury sports-car manufacturer such as Aston Martin is a historic event for our series and a milestone for the international orientation of DTM.”

The news of Aston Martin joining comes after the confirmation of an agreement between DTM (ITR) and Super GT to create a common ‘Class 1’ technical regulations and have one race in Japan while one in Europe with both the cars in 2019.

“I am convinced that the internationalisation-orientated cooperation of ITR and GTA as well as Aston Martin’s decision to join DTM will have signalling effects for further manufacturers. The cooperation with GTA, the internationalisation of our platform and the acquisition of further brands represent some of our most important strategic goals.

“We will push the international expansion in compliance with teams and manufacturers, a development that is supposed to be underlined by an adaption of the name of the series from 2020,” said Berger.

Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass said: “Welcome Aston Martin in DTM. We are looking forward to having AF Racing in cooperation with the tradition-rich brand Aston Martin aboard.

“Thanks to this step it’s guaranteed that DTM will provide motor racing at a high sporting and technical level, with premium manufacturers on the grid. I believe that Aston Martin, Audi and BMW will make for thrilling top-class motor sport.

“We had tough times and we fought hard, with great support of all the manufacturers involved, ITR and – last but not least – Gerhard Berger. I’m happy that we now finally can announce the future involvement of Aston Martin and that the success story of DTM will be continued.”

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt added: “Welcome in DTM, Aston Martin! The news of Aston Martin entering DTM is great for the series and the fans. This step gives all those involved planning reliability.

“After the surprising announcement of Mercedes to retire from DTM we early committed to the series and promised the fans to fight for its future. And we did so successfully. Our trust in the continuity of DTM and the numerous hours we worked jointly with ITR and Audi paid off.

“We really have to thank Gerhard Berger whose tireless efforts proved to be successful. Aston Martin are well respected and appreciated competitors in GT racing. We are delighted with having the opportunity to now also race against them in DTM.

“Due to the ‘CLASS 1’ regulations and the international prospects for DTM, the past months already were filled with an optimistic atmosphere. And thanks to the involvement of Aston Martin, the lights definitely are switched to green. No we should fully focus on the racing.”