For the first time in DTM history, Audi will be competing with three series champions in the 2014 season.
Having confirmed the return of reigning series champion Mike Rockenfeller last week, the Ingolstadt marque has now secured both Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider alongside the German.
“I'm delighted that, alongside title defender Mike Rockenfeller, our two most successful DTM drivers also continue to be on board,” head of Audi motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich commented, “'Eki' and Timo have been important pillars of our DTM squad for years. They're great guys, strong personalities, popular with the fans and perfect ambassadors for the four rings.”
Ekström will be tackling a 14th DTM season for Audi next year. From 2001 to 2003, he competed in the Abt Audi TT-R and, since 2004, has been an Audi factory driver. With 17 victories and two championship titles – in 2004 and 2007 - under his belt, he is the most successful Audi DTM driver of all.
“Audi has long become my second home,” the Swede confirmed, “I'm fully motivated to battle for victories and championship titles for Audi again in 2014.”
Scheider joined Audi in 2006 and, in his first season, was immediately the best driver of a year-old car. In 2008 and 2009, he won the DTM title, perfecting a title hat-trick for the marque following Ekstrom's earlier success, making Audi the first - and only - manufacturer to date to have clinched three DTM drivers' titles in succession.
“The dream with Audi can continue,” said Scheider ahead of his ninth season with the marque, “It's been my wish to keep driving for Audi and it's a nice feeling to continue to enjoy the brand's trust after so many years. I'm hoping for us to have many more successful years together.”
For Dieter Gass, head of DTM at Audi Sport, Ekström, Rockenfeller and Scheider are three important pillars in the title defence project.
“As our two competitors are going to leave no stone unturned next year to challenge us for the title, we've got to be poised with a strong line-up that's up to the challenge,” he acknowledged, “Having three drivers in the squad who know how to win in the DTM gives us a good feeling, and the other five cockpits will be filled with strong drivers too.”