Gerhard Berger explains decision to sell DTM to ADAC

Last Friday, it was announced that ADAC has acquired the brand rights to the DTM and will become the promoter of the championship from 2023.

It followed Berger dissolving DTM’s parent body ITR, of which he was the sole owner, amid uncertainty over generating enough revenue to cover its cost next year.

Berger kept a low profile in the last few weeks as he negotiated a deal with ADAC, which operates the GT Masters series that also runs on the GT3 formula.

But the Austrian has given a first interview since the sale to Motorsport.com’s sister title Motorsport-Total.comwhere he covered a wide variety of topics about the DTM and his own involvement in the future of the series.

Berger explained that ITR had “managed better than expected” under the “special challenge” posed by the pandemic and rejected suggestions that it lacked the money to continue.

“There was no money missing,” he said. “The past years went according to plan or better than expected. You can only estimate the future.

“That’s why it’s impossible to say in advance how much money would have been missing. But what I can say is this: As an entrepreneur, I looked ahead responsibly and took the necessary measures.”

However, Berger said “an additional hurdle has been added to the budgeting” for 2023 as the under-development DTM Electric series “was now also in the focus of the discussions” with sustainability increasingly “a necessary condition for many companies to participate in the DTM”.

“The link with this project was the precondition for obtaining the full sponsorship budget,” Berger said.

“At the same time, the financing of DTM Electric itself turned out to be more difficult than expected. All in all, this meant that the economic risk for 2023 became too great.

“The focus of the investor talks was DTM Electric, for which we are about to build the prototype. We held several talks with international interested parties.

“Among others, we had already come very far with Varta as a battery partner, in addition to Schaeffler and Mahle. However, we were ultimately turned down there.”

Berger said that he was “satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations” with the ADAC, believing the DTM to be “in the right hands with ADAC for the long term”, as its extensive motorsport experience in the German-speaking region was “a decisive advantage that spoke in favor of the ADAC”.

“ADAC not only has the experience, but also established, functioning structures in the field of motorsport and the necessary know-how to make the best possible use of synergies,” he explained.

“As far as I know, there have already been talks with ADAC before my time [Berger was DTM boss from 2017 to 2022]. However, a result has only been reached now.

“The consequences of almost two and a half years of pandemic and the general overall economic situation has made the need to leverage synergies even clearer. That is why the talks were also very constructive from both sides – apart from the fact that other people were now sitting at the negotiating table.

“In addition, there have been repeated requests from the partners, sponsors, teams and manufacturers to enter into dialogue with the ADAC in order to join forces and create one contact point.”

Berger revealed that the ADAC “refused to take over ITR during the negotiations because it has its own staff and structures”.

DTM Electric, he added, “is not part of the transfer of trademark rights” to ADAC.

“Therefore, we will sit down with our partners in the next few weeks to discuss the next steps,” he said.

Kelvin van der Linde, Team ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3

Kelvin van der Linde, Team ABT Sportsline Audi R8 LMS GT3

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

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