News is just breaking that Dr. Mario Theissen will be retiring this coming July first. He will be replaced by Jens Marquardt.
Theissen has been the head of BMW Motorsport for the past 12 years. He was a key figure in BMW ‘s entry and exit of F1 and more recently the push to compete in DTM.
Marquardt will start with BMW ‘s racing division effective as of January 1 to shadow Theissen and learn more about the ins outs of the season and DTM project.
How this impacts the future is left to be seen but our hats (and helmets) are off to Dr. Theissen for a valiant run atop of BMW Motorsport. There have been ups and downs but this past years victory at the 24 hours of the ‘Ring and the manufacturers championship in ALMS were great accomplishments and a good way to exit on a high note. (Official release after the break)
>Official Release: After more than 12 uninterrupted years, a changeover at the head of BMW Motorsport is in the offing. On 30 June 2011, BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen will pass on the baton to his successor Jens Marquardt and retire from his post. 43-year-old Marquardt will join the company on 1 January 2011, going dual with Theissen for the first six months of the year to familiarise himself with his new task. This will ensure the seamless execution of the 2011 racing programme and preparations for the 2012 DTM project.
>“We have planned and prepared this changeover very carefully,” explains Theissen. “With the realignment of BMW Motorsport and the decision in favour of the DTM project, the path to a successful future on the race track has been mapped out. Now is also the best time to entrust the leadership of BMW Motorsport to new hands. I have no doubt that in Jens Marquardt we have found the right man for this exciting task and I look forward to our time working together. On 1 July 2011 he will be perfectly equipped to take over the reins.”
>Marquardt comments: “Heading up BMW Motorsport is a dream job for me and a tremendous show of confidence. The endurance events with the BMW M3, the broad-based customer sport programme, the promotion of junior racing talent, and above all the DTM project are all fascinating challenges. I know that Mario Theissen will support me in every way and I can hardly wait to get down to work.”
>Theissen first joined BMW on 15 June 1977 as a development engineer. He took on various responsibilities in engine development before going on to run the BMW Innovation Centres in Munich and Palo Alto. Theissen has been in charge of BMW’s motor sport programme since 1 April 1999.
>Marquardt was born on 20 May 1967. After a degree in aerospace technology, he turned to a career in engine development. From 1996 to 2000 he worked for Ilmor Engineering on the development of Formula One and CART engines. He joined Toyota Motorsport in 2000, initially working in the Formula One engine department, and then from 2008 as F1 Operations and Team Manager. His most recent post was as General Manager Business Development, Operations & Production.