Kubica move to DTM confirmed with ART in a BMW for 2020 season
Robert Kubica has confirmed his DTM with BMW Motorsport's customer team for 2020 which is made possible due to sponsor PKN ORLEN.
Having left Williams at the end of the 2019 F1 season, Kubica was looking to be part of the DTM family and so tested with BMW during the winter. The German manufacturer, though, confirmed its 2020 line-up without the Polish driver's name.
Jonathan Aberdein was the last to be signed up by BMW after Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock, Lucas Auer, Philipp Eng and Sheldon van der Linde. At the same time, reports of Kubica joining a customer outfit with the German manufacturer started to push through.
This has been confirmed on Thursday with his sponsor PKN ORLEN announcing the same. It will see Kubica compete in DTM full-time with ART Grand Prix - BMW's new customer outfit - alongside his development role with Alfa Romeo Racing in F1.
This is not the first time for ART in DTM as the French single-seater heavyweight made its debut in 2015 with Mercedes but pulled out after rules change with 2017 being their last. The team now returns to the touring car series as BMW's customer outfit.
"The DTM has appealed to me for a long time," said Kubica. "And the test in December in Jerez really gave me a taste for more. I believe the DTM is one of the strongest and best racing series in the world. I immediately felt at home in the BMW M4 DTM at the test.
"ART Grand Prix has been a big name on the international motor racing scene for years. I am sure we can achieve a lot together in the DTM. We obviously still have to gain experience compared to the established DTM teams, but we will work hard to ensure that we improve all the time. I can hardly wait to race in the DTM."
Meanwhile, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, stated: "This is really great news for the DTM. We are delighted to welcome ART Grand Prix to the DTM as a private customer team. It has always been our goal to make the DTM field even larger and more attractive with privately-run BMW M4 DTMs.
"There were several options and we have held many discussions with potential teams in recent months. Considering all the aspects, we opted for the package provided by ART Grand Prix. After the test in Spain last December, Robert Kubica made no secret of the fact that he could imagine a future in the DTM.
"It is great that ART Grand Prix is now allowing him the opportunity to contest the 2020 season in a BMW M4 DTM. Robert showed during the test that is very good in a DTM car. He is a real asset to the series. We have our fingers crossed for ART Grand Prix and Robert, and hope they have a successful DTM season."
At the same time, ART GP team principal Sebastien Philippe added: "No need to introduce BMW, Robert Kubica or the DTM! Their fabulous careers speak for themselves. This project is important to us and we have been putting a lot of energy into it over the winter.
"It is with great pride that we will undertake it with the ambition to honour a historic car manufacturer, BMW, which has won several titles in the most demanding passenger car championship. Our goal will also be to accompany Robert Kubica, who is about to write a new page in his already incredibly rich motorsport career.
"Our last participation in the DTM series dates all the way back to 2015/16, so ART Grand Prix will need to relearn the inner workings of this high-level championship. Our objectives will be modest at the start of the season, but with the determination of our team, I hope that we will progress from the start of the season to fight with the frontrunners."
And finally, ITR chairman Gerhard Berger said: "We’re absolutely delighted to have a driver of the calibre and prestige of Robert join the DTM – he will be a fantastic addition. In fact, our series has had a long and illustrious history of attracting F1 drivers – including race winners such as Mika Hakkinen, Keke Rosberg and David Coulthard – and Robert’s arrival maintains that tradition.
"As his grand prix predecessors have each discovered, the DTM is fantastically competitive and no easy challenge. That said, I’m absolutely sure that Robert will very quickly prove himself in DTM, and that he will be an invaluable component of BMW’s exciting 2020 driver line-up. We all look forward to seeing him in action."
[Image courtesy: BMW Motorsport] [Note: This story was written by me on FormulaRapida.net]