Kelvin van der Linde has left Audi’s roster of factory drivers, with his destination unknown, the German manufacturer has confirmed.
The South African has been at Audi since 2015, driving the R8 LMS in a variety of international championships, including DTM, GT World Challenge, Intercontinental GT Challenge and more.
His exit follows many of his former teammates, including Dries Vanthoor, Rene Rast, Charles Weerts, and Nico Mueller. It’s believed this exodus is largely a result of Audi’s cancellation of its LMDh effort, with Volkswagen-owned manufacturer instead choosing to pursue a Formula 1 programme.
Alongside K. van der Linde, another driver has left Audi: Nathanaël Berthon, who most recently drove an Audi RS3 LMS in the World Touring Car Cup.
To replace its factory drivers, Audi has signed new drivers to the programme, including Simon Gachet and Max Hofer from its customer racing programme. They join familiar names such as Frederic Vervisch, Christopher Haase, and Christopher Mies, all of whom remain at Audi.
Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing, said: “A big thank you also goes to two other drivers who are no longer part of our squad this year.
“Kelvin van der Linde has clinched championship titles, 24-hour race victories and many other successes with Audi. Even though he is giving his career a new impetus, we would be happy to see him in the cockpit of an Audi R8 LMS again in the near future for individual programs or races.
“Nathanaël Berthon achieved victories for us in the WTCR FIA World Touring Car Cup and made a major contribution to the development of the Audi RS 3 LMS.”
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