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Muller will look back at Audi stint with "golden memories"

Nico Muller says he will take lots of “golden memories” from his time with Audi after ending a nine-year stint with the Ingolstadt-based marque this month.

Nico Müller, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline

Nico Müller, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline

Audi Communications Motorsport

Muller joined Audi’s factory stable in 2014 and has been one of its star performers in the DTM, finishing runner-up in the championship to Rene Rast in ‘19 and ‘20 and clocking a total of 11 wins, 34 podiums and seven pole positions during that period.

The Swiss driver also contested a wide variety of GT3 races with the brand across Europe, winning the Nurburgring 24 Hours outright in 2015 with Christopher Mies, Edward Sandstrom and Laurens Vanthoor.

So impressed was Audi with Muller’s performances that he was appointed to lead the development of its LMDh contender for 2023 along with Rast, as the German manufacturer geared up to return to Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time since 2016.

However, the LMDh project was quietly shelved at the beginning of the year before the car had even completed its first test, leaving Muller with no option but to prematurely end his relationship with Audi and pursue a deal with Peugeot to join its Le Mans Hypercar programme.

The 30-year-old contested his last race as an Audi driver in the DTM finale at Hockenheim on October 7-9, ending the season seventh in the championship with a victory at Portimao being the highlight of his campaign.

Asked how he would look back at his time with Audi, Muller told Motorsport.com: “Mainly with lots of positive and golden memories. They will stay with me forever. Very thankful for the time we have had together. 

“So many lessons learned, so many emotions shared with many good people and it's going to stay with me forever and it has made me the racing driver that I'm today.

“It's been a very special era for me. Shared this nine year chapter with Audi mainly in DTM, also some other races and championships but mainly here. 

“It is definitely something that has formed me as a racing driver and as a human being a lot.” 

Race winner Nico Müller, Team Rosberg

Race winner Nico Müller, Team Rosberg

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Muller said he wanted to write a new chapter in Audi’s successful history in endurance racing, which includes 13 wins at Le Mans, but immediately started considering his options when he learned that the LMDh programme won’t go ahead as planned.

The Swiss driver was transparent with his discussions with Audi and amicably split with the brand, which organised a special farewell for him last month in the presence of new motorsport boss Rolf Michl.

“I always said one day I want to be there fighting for the overall victory at Le Mans and when it became clear that this was not going to happen with Audi, [due to] unforeseen circumstances, I immediately started to look left and right,” said Muller.

“I had a very open and fair exchange with Audi about it. I said, ‘look guys, that is what my wish is for the future, where I see my career going’ and we agreed together that I would get the chance and I'm very grateful to have found a new home with Peugeot.” 

The Hockenheim finale also marked Muller’s last race in the DTM for the time being, with the 30-year-old combining his WEC commitments with Peugeot with a return to Formula E in 2023 with Abt.

Muller explained it is too early to consider a return to the DTM, but won’t rule it out as an option should an opportunity arise in the future.

“For me at the moment I'm not really thinking further ahead than what is coming up,” he said. “So it's way too early to talk about not the next but the step after [the next]. 

“The only thing I can say is that I will definitely not exclude it at some point. You never know what the future holds. 

“I'm very, very happy with the programme that I have for the next few years, so really looking forward to this new chapter. I'm in a very lucky and great position to do two official world championships. 

“With Formula E and WEC, I think it is a dream programme and I will focus on that for a while for sure, then we will see.”

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