Katherine Legge has admitted that she will have no excuses for failing to improve her performances in this year's DTM campaign, having been elevated to a better car and the team that won last year's drivers' title.
The Briton knew that she was in for a tough time when she was handed one of Futurecom-TME's two-year old customer A4 DTMs for her rookie season in 2008, but plugged away and produced the occasional result to rival that of vastly more experienced team-mate Christijan Albers. Her efforts did not go unnoticed and, with Colin Kolles' team being given the chance to run privateer R10 TDi prototypes in the Le Mans Series, she has been drafted in to the Team Abt Sportsline squad for 2009.
Although she will still be running an older car, stepping up from a two-year old model to one just a year from latest spec, she will undoubtedly benefit from the experience, not only of the Abt team, but also team-mates of the calibre of reigning champion Timo Scheider, Tom Kristensen, Mattias Ekstrom and Martin Tomczyk, who all remain with the squad in 2009 machinery.
“The opportunity that I have been given this year is the best one I have ever had in my career," Legge stressed, "I'm really excited and motivated about the forthcoming season.
"Driving for Abt is the best possible situation for me. They have a wealth of race- and championship-winning experience, so I have no excuses being with a team like Abt this year, having such experienced team mates and the added bonus of a 2008 car."
Legge is also confident that she can raise her game having got a year of DTM competition behind her.
“The vast majority of the tracks were new to me [last year] but, now that I've learnt them and understand the unique format of DTM in terms of qualifying and the races, I know what to expect and can use this experience to my benefit," she explained.
"2008 was tough, but you gain strength during adversity and, with a positive attitude, you emerge stronger and more determined as a person. Audi have taught me a lot and I have 'grown' as a person because one of the bonuses about driving in a big team is that we all help each other in so many ways and you improve as an individual and also a team player."
With so many untried hopefuls being given a chance to run in the Kolles cars over the winter, there were rumours cast about the make-up of the Audi line-up, and Legge is determined to prove that the Ingolstadt marque has made the right decision to not only retain her, but to promote her within the ranks.
“I'm extremely grateful to Dr Ullrich and Audi," she insisted, "I fully intend to make the most of this opportunity and to prove to Audi that I am an indispensible part of its team.
"I am very much looking forward to the first test, when I can start working with my new team and putting my marker down for the new season and the first race at Hockenheim. I am proud to continue being apart of the Audi Sport family. The company is much more than a quality brand, so to get the opportunity to remain part of it is like a dream come true.
"To drive for Audi as a professional driver is one of the best jobs in the business and I couldn't be happier!"