Audi has confirmed that it will retain Mattias Ekstrom (LEFT) and Timo Scheider alongside reigning champion Mike Rockenfeller for the 2014 DTM.
Ekstrom has been part of Audi’s program since its days as an independent Abt operation in 2001, and won the ’04 and ’07 title for the marque. Scheider took the title with Audi in both 2008 and ’09.
Audi’s DTM program chief Dieter Gass said it had been important to hang on to the team’s trio of proven champions.
“Ekstrom, Rockenfeller and Scheider are three important pillars in the title defence project,” he said. “As our two competitors are going to leave no stone unturned next year to challenge us for the title, we’ve got to be poised with a strong lineup that’s up to the challenge.
“Having three drivers in the squad who know how to win in the DTM gives us a good feeling. And the other five cockpits will be filled with strong drivers, too.”
Few changes to Audi’s DTM driver roster had been anticipated, but the retirement of Allan McNish from its World Endurance Championship programme could have ripple effects elsewhere in Audi’s lineups. Earlier this week Audi motorsport chief Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich explained that the McNish news had delayed the final DTM driver arrangements.
“Its effect even goes into the DTM and we didn’t have enough time to sort it out properly,” he said.
Jamie Green, Filipe Albuquerque, Edoardo Mortara, Miguel Molina and Adrien Tambay formed the rest of Audi’s 2013 DTM lineup.
Of Audi’s rivals, Mercedes has so far only announced that it is retaining Gary Paffett, while BMW is bringing in Antonio Felix da Costa and Maxime Martin and switching Andy Priaulx and Dirk Werner to GT racing.