Having taken the 2011 DTM title, Martin Tomczyk has announced that he is to leave Audi to seek a fresh challenge.
Tomczyk, who made his DTM debut driving a Team Abt Audi TT-R back in 2001 – making him at that point the youngest driver in series history – lifted the title this season at the wheel of a older-spec car entered by Audi Sport Team Phoenix.
However, after a partnership lasting eleven years, Tomcyzk will now move on for the new season, with BMW appearing to be his most likely destination for 2012.
The returning marque has already signed Bruno Spengler from Mercedes to join forces with long-time BMW factory drivers Andy Priaulx and Augusto Farfus.
DTM Champion Martin Tomczyk seeks a new sporting challenge. The 29-year-old man from Rosenheim will no longer compete for Audi in the 2012 season.
"I won the Championship for Audi after eleven years together,” Tomczyk said. “The entire Audi Sport team and in particular Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich have always been behind me throughout the many years we spent together.
"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.”
Audi motorsport boss Ullrich admitted he was disappointed to see Tomcyzk elect to move on but wished him all the best for the future.
"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,” he said. "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.”
Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider will both remain with Audi for next season and drive two of the seven new A5 models that the manufacturer plans to run.