DTM promoter ITR is expected to record a revenue loss for the third consecutive season as its flagship series faces an uncertain future.
While focus has been around what direction the DTM will take in the wake of Audi’s exit after 2020 – following Mercedes’ departure after 2018 and the loss of privateer Aston Martin team R-Motorsport in January – series promoter ITR has been losing money even before the manufacturer exodus began.
ITR GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITR eV, recorded a loss of €2.74 million in 2017 and €5.09m in 2018. The accounts for the year 2019 have yet to be published, but it is understood that the ITR’s financial health hasn’t improved.
The financial decline of ITR stems from losing a number of support series, including the German Porsche Carrera Cup which dropped out after 2017, while European Formula 3 was discontinued entirely a year later.
Major sponsor Deutsche Post didn’t extend its contract this year, and the series has also been hit hard by the loss of ticket sales due to the coronavirus pandemic.
German broadcaster ARD used to pay for TV rights for the DTM, but that is no longer the case since private channel Sat.1 took over the coverage from 2018. However ITR continues to bear the cost of production, as it did under its deal with ARD.
The series also may have to make payments to both Audi and BMW as both manufacturers are set to leave the parent company ITR eV after 2020 – they currently own a 33% stake each in the DTM promoter and are entitled to withdraw their capital when they forfeit their shares.
It is understood that Audi is willing to forego its capital investment to ensure the DTM can continue running in 2021, but BMW’s stance remains unknown, with ITR chief Gerhard Berger still holding talks with the Munich-based manufacturer.
When asked by Autosport why the terms of Audi and BMW’s exit from ITR eV have not been agreed yet, Audi Sport boss Dieter Gass said: “It’s really a matter of having an agreement with all the parties and the matter of finding the right way how to finance it.
“Once you have that and the agreement between all the parties of what we are going to do then the regulations I would think is rather a detail.
“If [the decision] was just on our level, it would be a bit easier.
“But that is a subject that is discussed not only with board members, but as well with the legal department.
“There is part of why it’s taking some time because you need to find the agreement with everybody, you need to be sure that you put up something that stands up on legal aspects and compliance aspects.”