Martin Tomczyk to leave DTM after 2016 to focus on GT racing

Former DTM champion Martin Tomczyk has announced he will retire from the series at the end of the year to focus on GT racing with BMW

Martin Tomczyk to leave DTM after 2016 to focus on GT racing

The 34-year-old, who won the 2011 title driving an older-spec Audi for Team Phoenix, has raced in the series since 2001, winning seven races from 171 starts.

"It was certainly not an easy decision for me, as I have become part of the DTM," said Tomczyk.

"Now it is time for me to say farewell and to take on new sporting challenges with BMW.

"I have continued to develop as a racing driver in recent years, and after 16 years in this series I have been thinking 'Is the DTM still right for me?' Can I continue to record results that match my expectations?

"I also enjoy GT racing and have had regular opportunities to compete there over the years.

"It has become a lot more professional and will continue to do so.

"I believe I can continue to develop as a driver and increase my involvement - that is why I made my decision."

Tomczyk, who was snapped up by BMW as reigning champion for its comeback in 2012, expressed thanks to Hans-Jurgen Abt and Audi Sport boss Wolfgang Ullrich for the part they played in establishing him in the DTM.

"I owe a debt of gratitude to Hans-Jurgen and his entire team, as I really learned how to be a professional racing driver there for 10 years.

"Wolfgang Ullrich and Audi also gave me the support I needed to establish myself in motorsport.

"Ernst Moser and Team Phoenix were the key to my DTM title success in 2011 - that was clearly the highlight of my career to date."

BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt said Tomczyk played a key role in the manufacturer being able to win the DTM drivers' title at the first attempt with Bruno Spengler in 2012.

"It is very difficult to conceive of a DTM season without Martin," he said.

"Martin has defined this series like no other driver in history.

"When he joined BMW for our comeback in 2012, his unbelievable experience really helped push the project forward.

"Martin has grown very close to the BMW family and has become a brand ambassador.

"I am very happy that he will be staying with us in the long-term, to become an important part of our future motorsport programme."

Tomczyk has made four starts in the Nurburgring 24 Hours for BMW, and this year he also raced at the Spa 24 Hours and competed in the German GT round at Oschersleben.

TOMCZYK'S DTM CAREER

Debut: Hockenheim 2001
Races: 171
Wins: 7
Pole positions: 8
Fastest laps: 8
Laps led: 248
Championships: 1 (2011)

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