Darryl O'Young will make his DTM debut with Audi at the season finale in Shanghai, after the German manufacturer dropped Alexandre Premat.
O'Young, who has enjoyed a successful debut season in the World Touring Car Championship this year, will replace the Frenchman at Audi Sport Team Phoenix. The Vancouver-born Hong Kong driver has previous links with Audi after racing an Audi R8 LMS at the Sepang 12 Hours.
“We welcome Darryl O'Young to Audi and are pleased to have been able to secure his services for our showing in China at short notice,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Darryl has been driving high-performance GT sports cars for many years and by finishing as the overall runner-up clinched a remarkable result in the Audi R8 LMS at the Sepang 12 Hours in August together with Frank Biela and Marco Werner.
“The decision to give Alexandre Premat leave of absence before his contract expires wasn't an easy one for us,” added Ullrich. “Unfortunately, though, opinions on important topics most recently differed too much. We would like to thank him for his work during the past four years and wish him all the best for his future career.”
Premat suffered a heavy accident in what turned out to be his final race for Audi at Adria. He also raced for the manufacturer in sportscars, winning the 2008 Le Mans Series title. He was given a final warning by Audi after triggering an accident at Lausitz this year which affected the latest-spec Audi drivers' races.
In a quote published on Autosport.com, Premat said: “2010 has generally been a tough year for me and I deeply regret splitting from Audi. But we had quite some differences of opinion most recently. Nevertheless I am thankful for the great working relationship with Audi since 2007 in the DTM and in prototypes. I was able to gain lots of valuable experience which can only be an advantage for me in the future. I want to thank Wolfgang Ullrich and Audi for their support throughout these years. I wish them all the best for the future.”
O'Young said: “I'm proud to have the chance of competing for Audi in Shanghai. This is a fantastic opportunity. I'm not running in an Audi for the first time. Competing for Race Experience Team Joest and finishing the Sepang 12 Hours in the R8 LMS as the runner-up was a great experience. Of course I realize that the Audi A4 DTM is a completely different car. The street race in Shanghai is very special. Nobody has ever driven on this circuit. I like street circuits very much and achieved good results in Macau in the past few years. Although I won't have much time to get used to my new environment I'll do my best to make a good showing for Audi and the DTM fans.”
The TV Movie logos on the #9 Audi will be replaced by the branding of another publication of the Bauer Media Group – Chinese women's magazine “Du Shi Li Ren”.