Maxime Martin has parted ways with BMW, the German manufacturer confirmed on Thursday, ending a five-year run as a factory driver.
The 31-year-old Belgian, a race-winner in DTM this year, had been a regular in GT competition with the brand, having claimed victory in last year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa in ROWE Racing’s BMW M6 GT3.
While having been part of the BMW-backed Marc VDS Racing squad, Martin got his official start with the manufacturer in 2013, driving for BMW Team RLL in the American Le Mans Series, prior to moving to DTM the following year.
“It has definitely been a wonderful time with BMW, being there for five years as official BMW works driver,” Martin said.
“We enjoyed really great success together, with wins and podiums in the DTM, the victory at the 24 hours of Spa-Francorchamps as well as second places at the 24 hours at the Nürburgring.
“I would like to thank Jens Marquardt, Adam Baker and Rudi Dittrich who believed in me five years ago and offered me the opportunity to join BMW as a works driver.
“I think without this everything maybe would have been different.
“But you sometimes need new challenges and changes so I decided to leave for a new challenge.”
BMW, meanwhile, will announce its 2018 driver lineup for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, FIA World Endurance Championship and DTM on Friday during its end-of-season awards dinner in Munich.
“On behalf of BMW Motorsport, I would like to thank Maxime Martin for his commitment over the past five years,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.
“Maxime showed that it is possible to progress from customer racing to the top echelon of works racing with us.
“It was always impressive to see how effortlessly he was able to switch between DTM and GT cars. We wish him all the best for the future.”
Martin Tipped for Aston Martin Switch
It’s understood Martin is likely to move to Aston Martin Racing as part of its bolstered factory lineup next year in the WEC that includes recent signing Alex Lynn.
In addition to Lynn, the British manufacturer has so far confirmed the return of longtime factory driver Darren Turner, 2016 WEC GTE-Pro champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen, as well as Jonny Adam, leaving one seat still open.
It’s believed both Daniel Serra and Richie Stanaway, who completed the lineup this year, are unlikely to return.
The Brazilian’s role as a Dunlop development driver could now be considered a conflict following the team’s switch back to Michelins for next year, with Stanaway understood to be focusing on his Virgin Australia Supercars commitments.
While likely to again field two full-season factory entries, a third GTE-Pro car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans could be in the cards, courtesy of the team’s auto-invite for claiming class honors this year.