Audi squad Abt Sportsline has signed Mike Rockenfeller and Kelvin van der Linde for the 2021 DTM season.
The team is a regular in the German motorsport series, which switches from ‘Class One’ regulations to GT3-class cars for this year.
After taking the teams championship in 2020 with Nico Müller and Robin Frijns, the team has opted for an all-new line-up for the 2021 campaign, with Müller moving to rivals Team Rosberg and Frijns instead switching to the FIA World Endurance Championship with Team WRT.
Rockenfeller has been a fixture in DTM since 2007. His record boasts six wins and 32 podiums from 193 starts, including taking the 2013 drivers’ title. He last raced for Abt in 2011, where he took his first series win.
“Abt is a permanent fixture in the DTM, something special. They have always shown that they can race for the title and have unique motivation. I think it’s really cool that we’re now competing together again. I’m excited about the new DTM season and think it’s going to be really good,” said the 37-year-old German.
On the other side of the garage, this will be Kelvin van der Linde’s rookie season in the DTM. That’s not to say he’s inexperienced though, having competed in Audi GT3 machinery for a few years. He won the Nurburgring 24 Hours in 2017 and two ADAC GT Masters titles, in 2014 and 2017.
“For me, competing in the DTM is a dream come true and I’m very grateful to be given this opportunity. I know the R8 LMS extremely well, so this exciting phase of the DTM is the perfect moment for me,” the South African driver commented.
As previously announced, Abt will continue its relationship with Audi, running two R8 LMS GT3 Evos in the new-look DTM championship.
Abt Sportsline CEO Thomas Biermaier said: “Mike knows the DTM inside out after 14 years and Kelvin knows every little detail of the Audi R8 LMS, I believe that with this duo and our team, we will have a strong entry to compete with.”
He continued: “You can already guess how high the level of competition will be in the DTM this year. We want to play a decisive role, win races and compete for the title. This is only possible with complete passion and teamwork, as we have been living at ABT for many years.”
The DTM’s first race of 2021 will take place at Monza, Italy, on June 19-20.