BMW Motorsport has set the direction it will be heading in for the 2014 DTM season, confirming that there will be two new drivers behind the wheel of the new M4 racer.
Maxime Martin is promoted from test and development driver to a regular seat, while single-seater convert António Félix da Costa completes the eight-man DTM line-up.
“After his impressive year as test and development driver, Maxime Martin is now ready to prove himself in the DTM," BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt commented, "He showed in the DTM tests and his successful outings in the BMW Z4 GT3 that he will be a valuable addition to our driver line-up.
“Meanwhile, António Félix da Costa really convinced us what a talented driver he is during his tests in the BMW M3 DTM, and through his previous success in single-seater racing. I am looking forward to following his development in the DTM.”
Martin, 27, has been particularly successful with the Marc VDS Racing team from Belgium. In 2012 and 2013, he finished runner-up and third overall in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Last season, he was instrumental in BMW Sports Trophy, with Team Marc VDS claiming second place at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. In 2013, Martin also raced for BMW Team RLL in the American Le Mans Series, claiming GT victory in Long Beach alongside Bill Auberlen.
“It was always my goal to use my year as test and development driver to put forward my case for a DTM seat,” the Belgian said, “I am very proud to have achieved that goal. Thank you very much to BMW Motorsport for the very informative past year and for their faith in me. I will do my very best to be successful in the DTM.”
da Costa, five years Martin's junior, arrives in the DTM with a wealth of experience in single-seater racing. Having raced in the F3 Euro Series and GP3 Championship, the Portuguese driver joined the Red Bull Junior Team in 2012. He crowned his 2012 season by winning the legendary F3 race in Macau and impressed in a part-season in the World Series by Renault. Starting 2013 as favorite for the crown in the more powerful category, da Costa had to settle for third overall after a frustrating start to the campaign.
“It is an honour for me to drive for such a big manufacturer as BMW,” the Red Bull Racing reserve [ see separate story
] said, “Switching from single-seater racing to touring cars is a new experience, but the cars are great to drive. The DTM is a top-class racing series – and I can't wait to get stuck into this challenge.”
To make room for the newcomers, Andy Priaulx and Dirk Werner will no longer be part of the line-up, but remain as works drivers and members of the BMW family.
Priaulx is switching to BMW Team RLL and will race in the new United SportsCar Championship (USCC) in North America, while Werner will be the spearhead of the BMW Motorsport endurance programme, which will see him in action in the BMW Z4 GT3 at events including the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
“BMW Motorsport is involved in numerous racing projects, and the boundaries between these projects are not set in stone,” Marquardt added, “Moving Andy Priaulx and Dirk Werner allows us to further upgrade our commitments in North America and on the endurance circuit. Both drivers will be valuable members of their new teams, thanks to their wealth of experience.”