BMW Australia CEO Marc Werner insists the German brand hasn’t snubbed V8 Supercars with its decision to enter a factory car in the Australian GT Championship from 2016.
The company has thrown factory support behind a new program with Steven Richards Motorsport, utilising the new M6 GT3.
BMW’s move comes as V8 Supercars courts manufacturers for its new Gen2 era, which will allow non-V8 engines and two-door body shapes from 2017.
With the GT program customer focussed and thought to be far cheaper than a V8 Supercars entry, Werner says that it was not a case of directly choosing between the two categories.
BMW had high profile roles in three previous eras of Australian touring car racing, fielding factory-backed efforts in Group C, Group A and Super Touring during the 1980s and 1990s.
“BMW Australia has a worldwide affiliation with GT racing,” said Werner when asked if BMW had considered V8 Supercars for its re-entry into Australian motorsport.
“There is a long history of competing in GT racing, for example with the Z4 GT3.
“We believe that GT racing is a rising sport in Australia and we want to offer something to our customers.
“For us that is the main benefit of engaging with the Australian GT customer racing.”
Werner did however confirm that BMW had discussed options with V8 Supercars teams this year ahead of the Gen2 introduction.
“We’ve had initial discussions with a couple of opportunities during the year,” he said.
“However when we saw what is actually coming out of Europe with this global approach as far as our GT customer racing is concerned, this is the best fit for GT customer racing going forward.
“That’s why we ruled out any other motorsports engagement. We truly believe this is the best way forward.”
Werner stressed the focus on customers for the GT3 effort, which has been structured to allow for “as many cars as possible” to enter the AGTC with the assistance of Richards’ team.
“Our intention is to provide a unique experience for our customers,” he said.
“That means from a customer point of view, the customer wants to have a hassle free experience.
“That’s why, being so far away from Munich where the customers are, we have to ensure that we deliver the right technical expertise and knowhow on the track.
“We need to provide parts that have to be available here in Australia. Customers cannot wait weeks for the parts to arrive before they can race their cars again.
“On top of that we want to provide a unique experience with, for example, corporate hospitality for people who are interested in racing and purchasing these cars.”
Although GT3 is currently the only focus of its motorsport efforts, Werner left the door open for a move into V8 Supercars in the future.
“We want to start with GT customer racing first and everything else remains to be seen,” he said.
“We want to be successful in that so we are starting in 2016 with a completely new approach that I believe is truly unique.
“We want to turn that into a success and see where we go from there.”