Lotterer leaves Super Formula after 15 seasons
Three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Andre Lotterer has ended his Super Formula career in Japan after 15 consecutive seasons.
Porsche-contracted Lotterer's twin programmes in Formula E and the World Endurance Championship with Techeetah and Rebellion respectively have left him no chance to continue in the single-seater series in Japan.
The decision brings to an end a stint that yielded the title in 2011 and a total of 24 race wins.
He either finished in the top three of the championship or won at least one race in all but his rookie season.
"It will be sad to call time on something I've been doing since 2003," said the German, who raced for the TOM'S team in 12 of his seasons in the category formerly known as Formula Nippon.
"I think I took the most out of my time there, but sometimes you have to go where the opportunities take you and my other programmes this year won't allow me to do Super Formula.
"There are too many clashes and just arriving at the last moment and jumping in the car would mean I couldn't do a proper job.
"I'm 36 and it might be time to move aside and let some younger talent come in."
Lotterer admitted that he would miss racing in Japan.
"It wasn't something that I did for the money at the end; I did it for fun," said.
"It was awesome racing and nothing came close for me to driving those cars through somewhere like the esses at Suzuka."
Lotterer had been due to relinquish his drive with TOM'S after becoming a full-time Audi LMP1 driver for the 2012 season, but successfully gained permission to remain in the series.
"I spent a month preparing to leave," he recalled. "I thought it wasn't going to work, because I would miss it too much.
"I called Dr. [Wolfgang] Ullrich [head of Audi Sport] and told him that there were no clashes with Super Formula and explained that from a personal and sporting point of view it would be a benefit for me to continue racing in Japan.
"He is a very human person and understood that it would work for everyone."
Lotterer will race a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Nurburgring 24 Hours in May, as well as a couple of races in the long-distance championship on the Nordschleife.
It has yet to be announced with which team he will join.
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