After Marc Gene left the Audi team to join Nissan’s new LMP1 effort for this season, the position for Audi reserve driver was left vacant. Mike Rockenfeller is no stranger to endurance racing and will be back on the scene in 2015 as the driver who will be filling the role Gene has recently departed.
Mike Rockenfeller won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010 in his sixth attempt at the endurance classic. After his success at Le Mans, Rockenfeller decided to focus on winning the DTM title in Germany. After achiving the DTM title for the first time in 2013, he has since hinted at a possible return to Le Mans
After Tom Kristensen announced his retirement from racing at the end of last season, Mike Rockenfeller was one of the first drivers who was offered the full season drive in the WEC. The German was a top priority for Audi due to his previous success and experience in endurance racing. However Rockenfeller turned down the opportunity as he feels he is not yet finished in touring car racing.
The DTM driver told Autosport “I’m in a good position in the DTM and I think my chances will be good this year,” He went on to say,”I didn’t want to give up without winning the championship again: it is my goal is to race in the WEC one day, but right now I wanted to continue in the DTM.”
In order to keep Rockenfeller on course for a future WEC campaign, DR Wolfgang Ullrich has agreed to placing Rockenfeller in the reserve roll for 2015. The goal being to get the German as much track time in the new R18 as possible. It was originally planned for Rockenfeller to drive in the third Audi at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans. However clashing DTM commitments mean that he will be engaged on those weekends. Rene Rast has been called up to fill the vacant seat in the third car.
Although Rockenfeller remains committed to the DTM in the near future, his new role as first test and reserve driver for Audi’s LMP1 team is definatly pointing the 2013 DTM champion in the direction of a WEC drive in years to come.
Source – Autosport
Image – Audi Motorsport