Eight-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen believes that sports car racing is heading towards a golden era in the near future.
The Dane announced last week that he will stop racing in the DTM at the end of this year to fully focus on endurance racing, and he feels that more manufacturers are going to join the top category in years to come.
"I believe that the future will belong to sports cars," Kristensen told AUTOSPORT. "We've seen manufacturers come in, and everyone is looking at Le Mans at the moment.
"I think it's a good time, because it gives manufacturers a chance to go in different directions with technology. It's probably not a coincidence that [Ferrari boss] Luca di Montezemolo will be the starter at Le Mans this year as well."
Audi is only planning to do two races with its R15 prototype this year, and the 41-year-old admitted that there is no guarantee of a busy program next season either.
"Obviously there is not the security of a lot of races, but that is not something for me to think about," he said. "There are ideas and plans, but you can leave me out of those."
Kristensen added that he started seriously considering his future last month, and that a final decision was made just a few days before he announced his plans.
"There had been a lot of talk about my future, but a lot of it was not by me," he said. "But on the other hand, now I am the only older hand in the DTM, and if people are always asking me when I will stop, I don't want to hear that.
"I enjoy racing against these young talents in DTM, it motivates me, but I think this is a good time to focus on sports cars."