SEPTEMBER 4, 2001
BMW abandons European Touring Cars
THE plans to revive the European Touring Car Championship from its current low-key status have taken a knock with the news that BMW is to abandon the series.
Currently running to the now-obsolete 2-liter Super Touring regulations, the ETC has devised an update called Super 2000, which removes the need for carry-over of standard parts within the four-door sedan bodies, but BMW will not support the initiative after a limited program with five year old 320i models this year.
The FIA has said that the ETC can take place next year on the proviso that at least 18 cars are guaranteed at each race, and the BMW withdrawal makes that target rather distant, with only Honda, Nissan and Alfa Romeo currently fielding works-backed teams.
BMW will instead race in the production class with its road based 320i as well as its ADAC Junior single-seaters, 3-series V8 hybrid in sports car racing and of course its Formula 1 program. The ETC organizers are said to be deeply disappointed, and BMW's reticence puts the teams of Volvo and Volkswagen in the balance.
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