After two years with the German manufacturer, Kuno Wittmer has parted ways with BMW, in the hopes of securing a full-time ride elsewhere.
The 2014 IMSA GT Le Mans class champion, who has served as one of the third drivers in BMW Team RLL’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship lineup for the last two years, said his contract has not been renewed.
It’s left the Canadian, fresh off GTLM class victory in last weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans, looking for a new opportunity in 2018.
“It’s more my decision because they haven’t found a way to put me in a program,” Wittmer told Sportscar365.
“There are a lot of drivers from Europe, and only limited amount of drivers from North America. In 2016 and 2017, only being a third driver and doing some of the stuff at Nürburgring is not enough for me to continue my career at 35.
“I want to prolong it, stay active and keep performing. I have no choice but to find something that’s more suitable in a full-time effort.”
Despite expanding into the FIA World Endurance Championship next year, BMW’s extensive pool of nearly two-dozen drivers are likely to fill the void for the four to six additional factory seats needed for the BMW Team MTEK program next year.
Both Alexander Sims and Martyn Tomczyk, who were added to its WeatherTech Championship program this year, are expected to continue, either in IMSA or the WEC.
“It’s a shame because it’s a really nice company to work with and the guys are amazing,” Wittmer said. “It’s just that from a driver’s point of view, I just need to be more active.”
Wittmer said he made the decision now, rather than wait until November or December when BMW typically announces the following year’s lineup, in order to increase his chances of securing a full-season ride.
The former Dodge/SRT factory driver said his “first choice” would be to remain in GTLM but has been open to other opportunities outside of the factory-backed class as well.
“[I’m looking at] IMSA, Europe, Nürburgring or PWC,” Wittmer said. “I’ve got a lot of experience in PWC and I’ve done great races there.
“I’m pretty open to anything, even the new TCR stuff or GT4.
“I think GT4 is going to be the new era coming in so I think GT4 is the future. TCR is really cool stuff and I have an extensive touring car background so I’m pretty open to any area of motorsports really.
“It’s time to get back and showcase. Right now I’m a Gold status driver and I’m not going to hide that I put a request in to be Silver.
“Being inactive the last two years from a full championship, who knows?”