BMW has confirmed its plan to make a return to the DTM for the first time in two decades, although a move into the series won't occur before 2012.

A meeting of the board last week reached a 'positive policy decision' regarding a return to the series for the first time since the early 1990s as BMW re-evaluates its motorsport activities following the decision to leave F1 at the end of last season.

BMW Motorsport has started work on making the 'appropriate preparations on the technical side' with a final decision due to be made later in the year. The final decision is linked to 'certain basic requirements' being met by series promoter ITR.

"The planned return to the DTM is an exciting challenge for our team," BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said. "Over the coming months we will be making all the necessary technical preparations that should allow us to be competitive right from the start should we join the series in 2012.

"Thanks to its great tradition in production car racing, the BMW M3 is predestined to be used as the basic car."

BMW will also continue with its sportscar programme with the M3 GT2 - pictured - into the new season, although a final plan for the World Touring Car Championship has yet to be decided.

Regardless of the decision taken, BMW is starting work on a replacement for its current S2000 car to fit in with the new regulations that will be introduced for the 2011 season.

"For 2011, BMW is developing a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine with direct injection that can be used in championships in accordance with the new Super2000 regulations - such as the FIA World Touring Car Championship," BMW's statement read. "A new racing car is being developed as a successor to the current BMW 320si for the coming years.

"How the BMW involvement in the World Touring Car Championship will look beyond the 2010 season will be decided over the course of the year."

BMW had already downsized its WTCC programme from six cars to just two for 2010, with the RBM team running Andy Priaulx and Augusto Farfus.