Michael Bartels' Vita4One Racing team will return to the GT1 World Championship with BMW this year.
The German's squad, which ran Bartels, along with Andera Bertolini, to the 2010 world title and won the teams' crown with a Maserati, skipped last year's championship and instead raced a Ferrari in the GT3-based Blancpain Endurance Series. He has now switched allegiance to BMW and will campaign a pair of Z4 GT3s in the world championship, which is now geared toward cars from that category, rather than GT1 machines.
Further outings at the Nurburgring and Spa 24 hour races are also under consideration by the team, according to BMW.
"We are delighted to welcome the Vita4One team and Michael Bartels into our BMW family," said BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt. "Michael and his team have already proven their class in the GT field on more than one occasion. I am pleased that we are able to make such a strong addition to our BMW Z4 GT3 program this year. It is great to be represented in the FIA GT1 World Championship."
No drivers have been named, although Bartels and his 2011 co-driver Frank Kechele are expected to continue to race regularly, with a number of BMW factory drivers being brought on board for the Nurburgring enduro.
Bartels said: "We have obviously followed the development of the BMW Z4 GT3 very closely over recent seasons. BMW has continuously further developed the car and taken it to the top of the hard-fought GT3 class. I am sure the car will take another step forward this season and allow us to compete at the front of the field, regardless of whether at the Nurburgring or in the GT1 World Championship.
"Everyone in the team is really up for our return to GT1. We have enjoyed a lot of wins and major triumphs there. We want to continue this success story with the BMW Z4 GT3 as soon as possible."