Berthold Bouman, DTM Correspondent
Martin Tomczyk, winner of the 2011 DTM (German Tourenwagen Masters) Championship today announced he will no longer compete for the Ingolstadt-based Audi squad in 2012. The 29-year old Champion has competed for Audi for 11 years, and thanked the Audi team for their support, “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.”
Tomczyk stated he is despite his success with Audi, ready for a new challenge in 2012. “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,” he explained.
The German driver started his motor sport career in single seater racing competing in the Formula BMW series and the German Formula Three Championship for Opel Team KMS in 2000. In 2001 he moved to the DTM championship, and has since then raced exclusively for Audi. In his first year, when he was only 19 years old, he finished in 13th place, and after finishing third in 2007, finally took the title this year, beating Mercedes star driver Bruno Spengler and Audi veterans Mattias Ekstrom and Timo Scheider, after winning three of the ten races. He was also the only driver to finish all races in the points this season, but even more impressive is the fact he won the title in a year-old Audi A4.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich commented on Tomczyk’s departure, “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.” And added, “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.”
Ullrich also referred to the decision to put Tomczyk in a year-old car this season, “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.”
Audi has not given any comments about who will replace the Rosenheimer, but expect to make a decision soon about their complete 2012 line-up. Ekstrom and Scheider, who both won the DTM championship for Audi twice, have a contract for 2012. What Tomczyk’s plans are remains unclear, but it is expected he will join BMW who will make a return to DTM next season, and also have Canadian Spengler under contract.
During his career with Audi, Tomczyk participated in 111 races, won seven, and scored eight pole positions before he won this year’s DTM title.