- Filipe Albuquerque to switch to Audi’s LMP and GT program
- Young talent Nico Müller convinced in tests with Audi RS 5 DTM
- Dieter Gass: “Nico’s speed and personality fit Audi”
A new face in Audi’s driver line-up for the 2014 DTM season: Nico Müller will be making his debut in the most popular international touring car series under the symbol of the four rings. The 21-year-old Swiss is taking the place of Filipe Albuquerque, who is switching to Audi’s LMP and GT programme.
Nico Müller proved his eligibility for the vacant Audi RS 5 DTM cockpit by delivering strong performances in track tests. “We’ve been watching Nico’s career for some time now. He completed a few hundred test kilometres in our DTM cars and left an outstanding impression. I’m confident that it won’t take him long to fill the gap that has been created by Filipe Albuquerque switching to our LMP and GT programme,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.
Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport, looks forward to working with the young talent as well: “Nico is a good fit for Audi, both in terms of his speed and his personality, and will no doubt be a valuable addition to the DTM on the whole. I think very highly of him and expect that he’ll be able to cause a surprise now and then in his rookie season.”
For Nico Müller, the appointment as an Audi factory driver in the 2014 DTM season means the fulfilment of a long-held dream: “I watched the series even as a child. And ever since I tested a DTM Audi for the first time, if not before, I’ve been dreaming about an opportunity to contest a race in such a car,” says the Swiss. “The DTM ranks among the most professional and popular racing series worldwide and is on practically every driver’s wish list. That’s why it’s a great honour for me that Audi is placing the trust in me to compete in an RS 5 DTM.”
Müller is used to handling powerful race cars. In the 2013 season, his sixth year of open-wheel racing in total, he contested the World Series by Renault in a 530-hp formula car and finished in fifth place of the standings after scoring two race victories – which included winning the season’s pinnacle event in Monaco. “It’s not so much the engine’s power output that I’m not familiar with as driving with a roof over my helmet, but that’ll soon become second nature to me,” says the touring car rookie with confidence. His personal aims for his debut season are marked by guarded optimism: “The competitiveness in the DTM drivers’ field is unique, so it’ll be difficult to score points. My goal is to learn quickly and steadily, and to occasionally manage the leap into the top ten in the second half of the season.”
Filipe Albuquerque to compete for Audi in the Le Mans 24 Hours
While Nico Müller is switching to the DTM, Filipe Albuquerque, after three years in touring cars, is following the call of endurance racing. The 28-year-old Audi factory driver from Portugal will be competing for the four rings in the LMP programme as well as in GT sport. His season will start on January 25/26 with a commitment in the Daytona 24 Hours in an Audi R8 LMS of the Flying Lizard Motorsport team. Last year, Albuquerque won the GT class there.
In the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car, the Portuguese, as part of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), will contest the 6-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps (May 3) and the Le Mans 24 Hours (June 14/15). Albuquerque has already successfully performed track tests in the LMP1 sports car for Audi Sport and looks forward to the new challenge: “I can hardly wait: I’m going to compete at Le Mans in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, in other words in the best car in the biggest race of the world. Hybrid, quattro, traction control – I’m getting to know many exciting technologies that are new to me. It’s good that I’ll be able to draw on the know-how of experienced team-mates. That’ll accelerate my familiarisation.”