Mattias Ekstrom will leave the DTM after seventeen seasons to focus on the World Rallycross Championship.
He’s raced for Audi, specifically Abt, for all of his years in the series and won the title in 2004 and 2007. He’s one of the most successful drivers in DTM history with 25 wins from 215 races.
Now, he’s to race full-time in WRX having driven in both championships for the last four years. In addition to driving he’s actually the founder and boss of the team that runs Audi’s works effort in WRX.
“Since 2014, I have been driving both DTM and rallycross; great fun, but also extremely demanding. During the last year I realised that this will not work and I had to choose. No more duplication – with respect for my family and both teams.”
Dutchman Robin Frijns will replace Ekstrom. Frijns is no stranger to a DTM car having tested at a young driver test in 2013 for Audi, but he’s got some rather large shoes to fill. In racing terms Ekstrom takes a size 22. It can be done though as Rene Rast proved last year by winning the title.
Audi Sport’s top chief Dieter Gass seems convinced enough, saying: “Robin left a strong impression with us even back then and we haven’t lost sight of him ever since. At the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS, he showed his abilities and is doing a very good job in our Formula E simulator as well.”
The rest of Audi’s drivers are staying put, including defending champ Rast.