BMW Motorsport has finalized its eight-driver line-up for the upcoming 2014 season, as they look to go for more than just a hat-trick of manufacturers’ titles in the DTM since their return in 2012. Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s reserve and test driver, António Félix da Costa, and BMW Motorsport’s test and development driver, Belgium’s Maxime Martin, will become the new additions that will race in the new M4 DTM that is yet to be put through its paces on the test cycle before racing gets underway in May next year.
Tomorrow’s season overview by the Munich motorsport giant will look back on the path already trodden, but the focus is very much on what is yet to come, especially with the fact that BMW is hunting for more DTM success next year.
Da Costa, who was passed up for the 2014 race seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso alongside Jean-Eric Vergne, which went to Russia’s Daniil Kvyat, showed impressive form during the recent four-day 5000km test in Jerez alongside the current BMW drivers, which included Timo Glock and Augusto Farfus and 2012 Champion Bruno Spengler.
It had been somewhat unclear to an extent as to where the 22-year-old driver would end up, but with two high-profile announcements reference his direction in 2014 in rapid succession, DTM seemed to be the most viable alternative, especially as his new role at Red Bull would potentially conflict with the race schedules in both GP2 and World Series by Renault.
This now sees another Portuguese driver in the series, along with his fellow countryman Filipe Albuquerque awaiting confirmation as to his spot with Audi Sport next year, as Ingolstadt have not yet announced who will be with them in 2014. Da Costa, who finished third in World Series by Renault 3.5 this year, said that it was “an honour” to be selected by BMW to drive for them, and is looking forward to the task at hand in his first foray into touring cars: “Switching from single-seater racing to touring cars is a new experience, but the cars are great to drive. The DTM is a top-class racing series – and I can’t wait to get stuck into this challenge.”
Martin has made the progression to a race seat in the same fashion that Team MTEK’s Marco Wittmann did, with the Belgian driver helping his cause with a consistent run of form in the Blancpain Endurance Series. With the Marc VDS Racing outfit. The 27-year-old secured runner-up status in 2012 with third place overall this year, and thanked BMW for putting their faith in him for 2014: “It was always my goal to use my year as test and development driver to put forward my case for a DTM seat. I will do my very best to be successful in the DTM.”
Those departing after two seasons in the DTM are Guernsey’s Andy Priaulx, who moves to race stateside with Team RLL for the inaugural United SportsCar Championship next season as we reported earlier today. This is also along with Team Schnitzer’s Dirk Werner, which sees him make a return back to endurance racing with BMW, as he will compete in the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt is looking forward to seeing how da Costa fares in the DTM, and was very much impressed with the skills that the 2012 Macau Grand Prix winner was able to display at the recent Jerez test: “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.”
So it’s one team down, with two still left to put their cards on the table, as it is still unclear just who BMW Motorsport will have to compete with on track, as the driver market could change when you least expect it. You can be sure that they will come out fighting no matter what…