Formula Renault 3.5 and GP3 race winner Nico Muller has been recruited to Audi’s DTM programme for the 2014 season.
The Swiss driver had been linked to a future with the German manufacturer after impressing them in previous tests.
“We?ve been watching Nico?s career for some time now,” said Audi’s motorsport chief Wolfgang Ullrich.
“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 program.”
Dieter Gass, head of the DTM programme, said: “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.”
Muller, who finished fifth in the FR3.5 standings last year and won in Monaco and Hungary, is excited about joining the DTM grid – which will include former rival Antonio Felix da Costa.
“I watched the series even as a child,” said 21-year-old Muller. “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.
“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.”
Aware of the competitiveness of the DTM, he is setting modest goals for his rookie season.
?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,? he said. ?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.?
The Formula Renault 2.0 Switzerland champion in 2009, Muller went on to finish third and fourth in consecutive GP3 seasons before his two years in FR3.5.