Da Costa to leave DTM after 2016

BMW driver Antonio Felix da Costa will leave the DTM after three seasons in the category, it has been announced.

Da Costa to leave DTM after 2016
António Félix da Costa, BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW M4 DTM
António Félix da Costa, BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW M4 DTM
António Félix da Costa, BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW M4 DTM
António Félix da Costa, BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW M4 DTM
Press Conference: António Félix da Costa, BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW M4 DTM
António Félix da Costa, BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW M4 DTM

Da Costa, 25, joined BMW's DTM line-up in 2014 after missing out on a promotion to Formula 1 with Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Since then, the Portuguese racer has stood on the podium on three occasions, among them a victory from pole in the 2015 Sunday race at Zandvoort.

"It's been a very big honour to join a family like BMW in a championship like the DTM," da Costa said.

"Since I was young, my dream was always to reach Formula 1. We came short, but the DTM has always been just right there - and you see a lot of guys choosing the DTM as the continuity for their career.

"I've done the same, I was very lucky to be able to do that with BMW, but today we announce that I'm stopping at the end of this year."

Da Costa had combined full-time efforts in DTM and Formula E since midway through 2014 and, when clashes occurred, the former series took priority.

But a difficult 2016 campaign in the DTM, combined with a move from the outgoing Aguri outfit to Andretti, will see da Costa return to a full focus on single-seaters.

Da Costa is the second driver in BMW's current eight-man line-up to confirm that he will not be returning in 2017, after Martin Tomczyk had announced his retirement earlier.

Whether that will create two free seats, however, remains unclear, as the DTM's three manufacturers have been evaluating a switch to six-car line-ups for next year.

"BMW is behind me, we have some future plans, I will stay on as a BMW driver, which for me is the biggest priority at the moment.

"They made me a professional race car driver and I'm happy to stay connected to this amazing brand."

Additional reporting by David Gruz

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