Mercedes-Benz will be competing against other automakers in the Formula E electric racing series starting in 2019.

The automaker is transitioning its motorsports division over from German racing series Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) to focus on Formula E. The company had played a visible role as a manufacturer sponsoring DTM for several years. The motorsports group will conclude its participation in DTM at the end of 2018, and enter Formula E in the 2019/2020 season.

In October, the company had purchased an option to join the Formula E series. There had been speculation that it would be making that commitment this year.

Mercedes-Benz has had a strong presence in motorsports racing over the years. It’s won championships with its hybrid technology in the Formula One series.

Electric racing has become the hotspot in motorsports, according to the division chief.

“In motorsport, like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and also explore innovative new projects,” said Toto Wolff, the head of the Mercedes-Benz motorsports division. “Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience – and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series.”

Audi made a similar move recently by announcing last year it would be leaving

the World Endurance Championship, part of which includes the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans; and would be going over to Formula E. This month, Audi announced that for the 2017/2018 Formula E season it would be fully responsible for Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport.

SEE ALSO:  Mercedes-Benz Seeking Approval to Enter Formula E Electric Racing Series

Audi joined right before BMW announced its participation. BMW is partnering with the Andretti Formula E team to compete in Formula E series racing events staring in the 2018/2019 season.

Mercedes-Benz is the ninth auto manufacturer to join the series. Beyond Audi and BMW, the other six are Citroen DS, Jaguar, Mahindra, Renault, and electric carmaker startups Nio and Faraday Future.

Similar to what Wolff said, automakers have chosen to join the racing circuit as a testing ground for development of their electric drivetrains; and to hold a visible role as a company committed to EVs.

The Verge