Mercedes DTM driver Maro Engel says the marque’s planned departure from the series at the end of 2018 marks “the end of an era”, but hopes that the championship can live on with just two manufacturers.

Mercedes confirmed last week that it would be closing its DTM programme after 19 seasons in the modern championship in order to focus on a Formula E entry in 2019.

The news comes as a blow to DTM, which features just 18 cars from three manufacturers, six of which are supplied by Mercedes. The remaining 12 are entered by Audi and BMW.

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Mercedes’ decision has raised concerns about the future of DTM, with Engel believing it marks the end of an era for the championship.

"It's definitely a shame. It's the end of an era because I grew up watching all the great DTM racers, Bernd Schneider winning five titles and supporting Mercedes,” Engel told crash.net.

“It's the end of an era and definitely a series I've always supported and watched closely. Mercedes has been involved in DTM since I've been watching it.

“It's a shame, but I think they've announced it well ahead of time to give drivers as well as everyone else involved and the series time to restructure and time for the 2019 season.

“I think it shows Formula E is where the company is orientated for the future.”

When asked if DTM had a future without Mercedes, Engel said: "I think it very much depends on Audi and BMW, what they're going to do.

“DTM was run very successfully for many years just between Mercedes-Benz and Audi, and we have very large spectator numbers and TV following.

“It’s a great series, absolutely great racing. I hope that Audi and BMW will confirm their plans and work together with the ITR on this.”