Winkelhock calls it a day

Former British Touring Car champion and German tin-top legend Joachim Winkelhock has announced his retirement from top level racing

Winkelhock calls it a day

The 43-year-old from Waiblingen in Germany began racing in the one-make Renault 5 Cup in 1979. He won the German Formula 3 title in 1988. After failing to find any success in Formula 1, Winkelhock turned to touring cars, storming to the BTCC title in 1993 for BMW. He also won the Nurburgring and Spa 24 Hour races, but perhaps his finest hour came when he took victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1999.

"After 25 highly successful years in motor racing I've decided that the time has come to put an end to my career," said Winkelhock. "I've enjoyed many successes at both national and international level, and the last few years in the DTM was a nice way to end my career. Although I don't rule anything out, whenever the occasion occurs I may be back behind the wheel."

Winkelhock switched from BMW to Opel in 2000 to help resurrect the DTM. Although he drops out of its ranks for 2004, he will remain with Opel's OPC racing department in an ambassadorial role.

"Joachim Winkelhock is one of the most successful and most popular touring car drivers in Germany," said Opel's Volker Strycek. "For Opel, and for the OPC, it can only be good to have him stay on board. We can only profit from his experience and popularity. We are pleased that he is staying with us."

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