Reigning Volkswagen Racing Cup champion James Walker has announced he will not defend his title with KPM in 2013 due to personal reasons.

The 26-year-old, who claimed two wins and 11 podiums on his path to last year’s title, will take a year’s sabbatical from racing to concentrate on his family haulage business and his marriage, saying: “I’ll be sorry not to be out there for a full season, but I fully intend to return to the track with a proper campaign in 2014.”

He hopes to race at some stage in a family Golf GTI should the opportunity arise, in which his father, Richard, and other relatives plan to compete.

Despite Walker’s exit, his former team, KPM, are confident of retaining their crown with a four-car line-up that features Stewart Lines and former Mini Champion and BTCC racer Martin Depper racing two Sciroccos, alongside ex-Ferrari sports car racer Jim Cartwright in a Golf GTI and disabled driver Phil Morris in his DSG semi-automatic gearbox Golf GTI

Despite the loss of Walker, KPM team boss Kevin Poole remains confident that his 2013 line-up will be fighting for victories this season, saying: “Martin won twice at Silverstone on his debut last year in the VW Cup, Jim won at Brands Hatch on his first outing, and after a season spent improving his pace every time out, Stewart is on the verge of his maiden win.

“KPM cars won seven of the 14 rounds last year and my aim is to at least match that.”