ADAC buys DTM trademark rights

Series boss Gerhard Berger has announced that the umbrella organization ITR 2023 will no longer advertise the DTM. The ADAC buys the brand rights to the popular racing series and could use it to push its GT Masters.

The old DTM can no longer be saved. Series boss Gerhard Berger tried it in 2021, in which the racing series switched from Class One prototypes to GT3 cars. At least the platform could be preserved and the DTM lived from its hype about the three big letters. However, despite a full field and numerous manufacturers, the DTM did not manage to get out of the crisis. One of the problems: the manufacturers used to support the series financially, but that's history now.

The gradual decline, despite a good sporty product, culminated on Wednesday (November 30th, 2022) in the announcement that the umbrella organization ITR would be dissolved at the end of the year. 17 employees have to look for a new job. Berger justified this step in a statement with financial bottlenecks. "Since we have corporate responsibility, we now had to create clarity. We have decided that the ITR will no longer advertise the DTM 2023. Against the background of the given framework conditions and in view of the numerous challenges, the economic risk for the next year is increased large."

ADAC as DTM safety net

It's a blow to the racing series, but it's not the end yet. The ADAC jumps in as "rescuer" and acquires the trademark rights. This was announced by the DTM and the Automobile Club on Friday (December 2nd, 2022). "We are now setting the course for a long-term future for motorsport in German-speaking countries. This is good news for the huge DTM fan community," says Berger.

And further: "I am firmly convinced that the brand is in the right hands with the ADAC: They have the necessary know-how to offer all motorsport fans a unique experience in the future. With many years of experience, the established structures and the club's own commitment to motorsport, the ADAC can not only create the best possible synergies, but also consistently develop the DTM further.

Without the financial support of the manufacturers, the old DTM was missing an elementary cornerstone. Berger, who has had sole economic responsibility since 2020, lasted three years, but is now drawing a personal line. The car brands involved had made it clear that there would be no return to the old days. That they no longer pay for open bills to ensure the survival of the racing series.

What happens to DTM & GT Masters?

Due to the corona crisis, the DTM recorded far less spectator income than needed.In addition, there was a lack of sponsors. In an environment like the DTM, the old motorsport with combustion engines is apparently no longer attractive enough to stand on its own. The planned electric DTM is still a long time coming. On top of that, ITR boss Berger, who has been leading the DTM since 2017, wants to retire and devote more time to his family. It is said that he had potential financiers on hand, but they made it conditional on the Austrian continuing. Berger no longer wanted that. In this mixed situation, a sale was the most sensible option.

ITR and ADAC have been in exchange since the summer. The talks were very constructive and have now produced a result. The GT Masters, which is organized by the Automobile Club, is showing a positive trend in registrations. However, there is a problem with marketing. The GT Masters is a racing series without image and charisma. It is relatively unknown, but the name DTM is a fixture in international racing.

The takeover could help the ADAC marketers. In which race format DTM and the GT Masters will be held in the future: There is nothing concrete about this yet. A statement by the ADAC states that the DTM will start a new chapter in its long history under the new roof. "ADAC is also acquiring the DTM brand with the aim of reorganizing the structures in German motorsport, creating synergies in the economic area and consistently pursuing the path towards more sustainability in motorsport. For all previous participants in the DTM and the ADAC GT Masters, there will be opportunities to get involved on the ADAC platforms in the 2023 season."

Time is pressing. Race calendars must be defined, the teams informed. You need planning security as quickly as possible. One thing can be said in any case, even if it sounds harsh: on the one hand, the DTM motor sport heritage lives on, on the other hand, only the shell is left of the old DTM.


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