Stuttgart, Germany - Mercedes-Benz will leave the German Touring Car championship at the end of 2018 and enter the electric Formula E series in the 2019/20 season
The carmaker, whose Formula One team has been world champion for the past three seasons, said on Monday it was carrying out a "strategic repositioning of its motorsport activities". It already had an entry option for 2018/19, announced in October 2017.
"This new approach will see Mercedes-Benz competing at both ends of the motorsport spectrum," it added. "In Formula One, the pinnacle of motorsport combining high technology and the most demanding competitive challenge; and in Formula E, which embodies the transformation that is underway in the automotive industry."
Audi also announced in October 2016 it was quitting the Le Mans 24 Hours sports-car race and related world endurance championship to shift resources to Formula E. Other manufacturers already involved in the electric series include German rivals BMW as well as Renault, Jaguar, Citroen and India's Mahindra.
'Time to start on a new path'
Mercedes has won 10 drivers' and 13 team titles in their 26-year involvement in German Touring Cars, with 183 race wins.
Marketing vice-president Jens Thiemer said: "Our departure from the DTM brings a long-standing motorsport era to a close. It is now time to start on a new path."
Mercedes said Formula E, which recently held its first races in New York, offers a "perfect platform to demonstrate the competitiveness of our technology brand EQ in a racing environment, in the area of battery electric powertrains". It will market future battery powered electric vehicles under the EQ brand.
Mercedes motorsport head and Formula One team boss Toto Wolff. said: "In motorsport like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and to explore innovative new projects.
"The combination of Formula One and Formula E delivers that. Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture: it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies."
"I am pleased that we were able to extend our entry option for one year to the 2019/20 season. This gives us time to properly understand the series and to prepare for our entry in the right way."