Alex Wurz has announced his retirement from racing, and the Austrian says that the upcoming Bahrain 6 Hours will be his last event.
Wurz started 69 Grands Prix with Benetton, McLaren and Williams between 1997 and 2007, earning three third places and setting two fastest laps. Latterly he has focussed on sportscars as a mainstay of the Toyota WEC team.
He remains a busy man outside the cockpit, working with the FIA, GPDA, Williams and Austrian TV in addition to other interests.
“After 12 years as a race and third driver in F1, I was lucky to indulge a passion for Le Mans Prototype racing for a further eight seasons,” he said in a statement. “That means I’ve enjoyed half of my lifetime competing at the top of motor sport and another quarter of it working my way up there, so I feel the time is right to call it a day and bring my career as a professional racing driver to a close.
“I’ve a lot to be grateful for and a lot I’m proud of. My two Le Mans wins will always be the most special and unforgettable, along with the Silverstone podium in my third Formula 1 race. In F1, I feel hugely privileged to have driven for top F1 teams like Benetton, McLaren and Williams, and added a bit of silverware to their trophy cabinets. I loved the testing and development work, collaborating with the engineers to find ever more performance.”
“LMP1 brought some epic battles and crushing retirements. Nothing beats the Le Mans podiums, but the Sebring 12 Hours, Petit Le Mans and securing Toyota’s first WEC victory were pretty special too. Endurance racing, especially Le Mans, has to be one of the harshest sports. I’ve led most of the Le Mans 24h races I have raced in.
“But it was our 15 hour lead in last year’s race that ended with retirement that had to be the hardest. I’d put so much effort into 2014 and into the race preparation that I found it very difficult to move on after the DNF. In previous years, such a defeat made me come back stronger, ready to launch into the fight again, but not that time. This was the moment I knew that my time at the sharp end was coming to a natural end. The WEC Bahrain 6 Hours will mark this end.
He added: “My future will still evolve around racing, it’s in my blood after all. Anyone who knows me, knows that I always have lots of projects on the go which includes growing my road safety and race track design business. You will still see me around, just without the overalls.”