Tom Kristensen has announced that he will retire from the DTM at the end of the 2009 season to concentrate solely on sports car racing.
The Le Mans legend has contested the DTM for Audi around his sports car program since 2004, taking three race wins and third in the points in both 2005 and 2006. But he has decided that this will be his final attempt at the touring car series.
"It's been a long process making this decision and now it's final," said Kristensen. "From now on, I'll be revving up my engine freely and fighting for the title once more. My personal final DTM spurt starts this weekend at Hockenheim.
"The DTM has been a fantastic period in my career during which I experienced a lot of different things and worked together with great people."
He admitted that Le Mans, which he has won a record eight times, is his major passion.
"Sharing the cockpit with other drivers, working together to come up with the optimum set-up, and fighting for victory on a unique track – that's simply the greatest thing for me," said Kristensen. "That Audi gives me the opportunity to compete in two such different motorsport categories at the highest level is a big privilege which I greatly appreciate."
Audi Motorsport boss Dr Wolfgang Ullrich said he understood Kristensen's desire to focus on Le Mans.
"I've had many discussions with Tom about his future and of course respect his decision to fully concentrate on sports cars," said Ullrich. "When he leaves, the DTM will not only lose a fast racer who is always a candidate for victory, but also a great sportsman who is highly respected by both rivals and fans because of his fair conduct and friendly nature."
Kristensen will begin his final DTM season at Hockenheim this weekend. He is joined in Audi's flagship Abt team by reigning champion Timo Scheider, double champion Mattias Ekstrom, and Martin Tomczyk.