There’s an interesting story coming out of Audi Motorsport this morning confirming that their newly-crowned DTM champion, Martin Tomczyk, has left the Ingolstadt brand by mutual agreement. Tomczyk has been a factory driver for Audi since the 2001 season and at 19-years old was the youngest ever DTM driver at the time.
There is no word (as yet) where Tomczyk will next appear, BMW are evaluating drivers for its 3-car entry in the 2012 DTM season and have so far confirmed just 3 of their 6 drivers (Augusto Farfus, Andy Priaulx and Bruno Spengler).
Tomczyk describes his decision as a difficult one that he made only after careful consideration. “I won the Championship for Audi after eleven years together. The entire Audi Sport team and in particular Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich have always been behind me throughout the many years we spent together,” explains Tomczyk.
“I’m delighted that I could repay the trust by winning the 2011 championship title together with team Phoenix. Despite this joint success, and after careful consideration, I have now decided to accept a new challenge. To conclude, I would once again like to thank everybody with whom I have worked together during my eleven years at Audi Sport and assure every single individual that these years were, in hindsight, something very special.”
Tomczyk started his DTM career in the 2001 season as 19-year-old in Team ABT Sportsline with the Abt-Audi TT-R and was, at that time, the youngest DTM driver in history. In 2003 he became Audi factory driver in the ‘S line Audi Junior Team.’ Since 2004 he has competed with the Audi A4 in the DTM, initially for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline and for the first time in 2011 for Audi Sport Team Phoenix.
In his sixth DTM season in 2006 he finally recorded the first of his seven DTM race wins to date. By winning the championship title in 2011 at the wheel of a year-old car he achieved the greatest victory of his career up to now.
His country’s motor sport federation Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) awarded the DTM champion the title of ‘Motor Sportsman of the Year’ ahead of his compatriot and F1 champion Sebastian Vettel. Tomczyk’s father, Hermann, is Sporting President of the ADAC.
“It goes without saying that we deeply regret that he decided, at this moment in time, to seek a new challenge after his most successful DTM season with Audi,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “I can, however, completely understand that after eleven special years of highs and lows with Audi he would like to try something new – after all by winning the DTM title at the wheel of an Audi A4 DTM he has achieved exactly the goal for which he was worked so hard for many years.
I’m personally delighted that Martin showed his many critics this year because I always believed in him. I can understand that to start he viewed the transfer to team Phoenix and a year-old car as demotion. But it gave, as I hoped, his career new impulses. I always enjoyed working together with Martin. He is a complete professional who I personally hold in high regard. I wish him all the best for the future.”
How Audi will line up in the DTM next year will be decided over the forthcoming weeks. In Mattias Ekström (Sweden) and Timo Scheider (Germany) the Ingolstadt brand has two DTM Champions under contract who have both won the championship twice for Audi. No less than eight of the nine Audi drivers mounted the DTM podium at least once in 2011. Audi currently plans to contest the DTM 2012 with a maximum of seven cars.