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Catsburg Maintains ‘Good Relationship’ with BMW After Exit

Nicky Catsburg explains departure from BMW factory driver roster after 11-year stint…

Photo: BMW

BMW M Motorsport boss Andreas Roos said the German manufacturer maintains a “good relationship” with Nicky Catsburg even as the Dutchman leaves its roster of factory drivers ahead of the 2023 season.

Catsburg’s name was notably absent from BMW’s 20-man roster of factory drivers announced last week.

He had been on the BMW’s books since 2011, notably winning the 24 Hours of Spa in 2011 and the Nürburgring 24 in 2020.

In previous years, he had dovetailed his BMW commitments with an endurance role with Corvette Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but will step up to a full-time role in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2023.

In a statement on Instagram, Catsburg said that the two parties had been engaged in negotiations for months, but that a deal could not be closed.

The 34-year-old noted he had hoped to combined both programs.

“As many of you will know, a few months ago I was delighted to confirm that I will be a full-time factory driver for Corvette Racing stepping up my commitments with Corvette beyond the third driver endurance role I have held for the past three seasons,” Catsburg wrote.

“Over the past months I have been trying to find an agreement with BMW to continue in a factory program with them as I have done for many seasons.

“Unfortunately and despite the best efforts of myself and BMW we could not reach a satisfactory agreement.

“I have enjoyed my time with BMW immensely, enjoyed some great results and working with some amazing people.

“But it is time for a new chapter with Corvette and some other exciting programs alongside as usual, including Asian Le Mans and an NLS/N24 campaign soon to be announced.”

Roos indicated that Catsburg’s departure was mainly due to his increased efforts with Corvette, noting that the Bavarian manufacturer preferred to fill its roster with drivers that are “fully committed to the BMW brand.”

However, he did hint that Catsburg could return to BMW for select events.

“We decided on our program that we will work together with drivers who really focus on our brand,” Roos said.

“We had an agreement with Nicky as he also wants to do some other programs that he is basically now focusing on the drives that he wants to do, but it does not mean that he’s maybe not coming back to us for some single events.

“We have agreed together that we had a good relationship and still have a good relationship.

“He is still very happy with the BMW brand, but this year all our drivers are in the end fully committed to the BMW brand. This is where we put the focus on.”

Catsburg himself suggested something similar, telling Sportscar365 that he expects to be back in a BMW “sooner rather than later.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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