Mike Rockenfeller plans to treat his first year in a top car in the DTM as a preparation for when the series switches to new cars in 2012.
The German has been moved up to Audi's Abt Sportsline squad for this year, after spending four seasons driving older spec cars. The Le Mans 24 Hours winner earned the promotion off the back of a very strong season driving for Team Phoenix. However, he is keeping his goals in check for his first campaign in top machinery.
"It was an important step for me to be able to fight for the top positions in the DTM with the latest car," said Rockenfeller. "In particular with a view to 2012 when everybody starts with new material and another manufacturer [BMW] joins, 2011 is important as a preparation season.
"I've known the DTM and Audi now for four years, but there is also plenty to learn. I race for the first time for Abt, with a new engineer to me, and we all receive tyres from new partner Hankook. I won't be setting my sights to high for exactly these reasons, but under no circumstances is it just a learning season. Results must be plain to see."
Rockenfeller added that he was delighted to be able to race a dual campaign for Audi, taking in several sportscar races alongside his DTM commitments.
"I think my past results have demonstrated that this double program helps me and isn't actually a hindrance," he said. "What could possibly be better than contesting the DTM and defending the title at Le Mans? You can't experience greater prestige than with this double program. I'm very, very happy with what Audi has made possible for me."
Rockenfeller replaces Martin Tomczyk in Abt's lineup for 2011, joining Oliver Jarvis and former champions Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom in the team's 2009-spec cars.