BMW has officially announced its 2014 racing lineup at its annual year-end celebration in Munich.
As anticipated, Andy Priaulx will switch to a full season in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship to replace Maxime Martin, who heads the other way to DTM for a full race seat. Martin served as a DTM test and development driver in 2013 along with his American Le Mans Series commitments.
The BMW Team RLL squad will retain the same four other drivers for its TUDOR Championship effort as in 2013, with Bill Auberlen and Dirk Mueller for full seasons, Joey Hand on non-conflicting DTM weekends and John Edwards for a second season.
The BMW Z4 GTE car name switches to BMW Z4 GTLM, to match the class name in which it will compete in the TUDOR Championship.
Martin is one of two new drivers for BMW’s DTM program, along with Red Bull Racing Formula One reserve driver Antonio Felix da Costa.
Besides racing for BMW Team RLL, Martin’s 2013 season with BMW took him to the Blancpain Endurance Series, where he finished third overall, and the Nurburgring 24 Hours, where he finished second.
“It was always my goal to use my year as test and development driver to put forward my case for a DTM seat,” Martin said. “I am very proud to have achieved that goal. Thank you very much to BMW Motorsport for the very informative past year and for their faith in me. I will do my very best to be successful in the DTM.”
Priaulx, who has made sporadic ALMS endurance race starts over the years but never been part of BMW Team RLL’s full season lineup, will come Stateside and have the opportunity to impress.
Priaulx, 40, won the 2004 European Touring Car Championship and the 2005 through 2007 World Touring Car Championships. He has raced twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with BMW, retiring when driving with Mueller and Dirk Werner in 2010 and finishing third in the GTE Pro class in 2011 with Mueller and Hand.
“The DTM was a fantastic experience for me” Priaulx said. “I had some great moments – and went out in style with my third place on the grid at the season finale in Hockenheim. However, I did miss standing on the podium.
“That is something I am now determined to achieve on a regular basis again with BMW Team RLL in the USCC. I still know the guys from my victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011 and am looking forward to this new and exciting challenge.”
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt summed up the changes and why the manufacturer has opted to make these driver lineup adjustments.
“After his impressive year as test and development driver, Maxime Martin is now ready to prove himself in the DTM. He showed in the DTM tests and his successful outings in the BMW Z4 GT3 that he will be a valuable addition to our driver line-up,” he said.
“António Félix da Costa really convinced us what a talented driver he is during his tests in the BMW M3 DTM, and through his previous success in single-seater racing. I am looking forward to following his development in the DTM.”
“BMW Motorsport is involved in numerous racing projects, and the boundaries between these projects are not set in stone,” he added. “Moving Andy Priaulx and Dirk Werner allows us to further upgrade our commitments in North America and on the endurance circuit. Both drivers will be valuable members of their new teams, thanks to their wealth of experience.”
Werner will spearhead the BMW Motorsport endurance program, racing the BMW Z4 GT3 at the Nurburgring 24 Hours among other events.