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Alex Wurz to retire from Motor Sport

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

    Former Grand Prix driver and double Le Man winner Alex Wurz has announced his retirement from motorsport following the end of the current World Endurance Championship season.

    Wurz, currently driving the for the works Toyota LMP1 effort has had an impressive career in motor racing since making his Formula One debut for the then Benetton Playlife team standing in for the absent Gehard Berger during a difficult season in 1997. Wurz impressed with a podium finish in only his third Grand Prix at Silverstone before returning to being a test driver upon Berger's return to the cockpit at the German Grand Prix, which Berger won.

    However, Wurz was rewarded with a full-time race seat for the 1998 season with Benetton and spent three more seasons at the team, partnered each year by Giancarlo Fisichella achieving moderate results with a high point of 8th position in the standings at the end of the 1998 season.

    Wurz went on to carve himself an impressive reputation as test driver for McLaren Mercedes during the following few seasons, being rewarded with a rare opportunity to drive in place of the injured Juan Pablo Montoya during the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix, finishing fourth in the race, but taking third place after both BAR-Honda drivers were disqualified. This gave him a unique record, as no other driver has had such a long gap between podiums as Wurz, who went eight years without one.

    A brief return to driving duties for Williams in 2007 ended in disappointment for the Austrian with only 13 points and a move to endurance racing beckoned. Wurz was keen to rekindle the competitive spirit and add to his single Le Man 24 hour victory achieved in 2006 when driving for the Joest Racing, becoming the youngest driver to win the French classic.

    Wurz went on to clinch a second Le Mans triumph with Peugeot in 2008 (12 years after his first win) and has since established himself as a front runner with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship in recent years. Wurz announcement of his retirement will come as another bitter pill for the embattled Toyota squad who have found themselves being left behind this season after successfully taking the WEC title in 2014 with Anthony Davison and Sebastian Buemi.

    Wurz states his disappointing end to the 2014 Le Mans 24 hours as the main catalyst that lead to his decision to call time on his full time racing career;

    “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. That means I've enjoyed half of my lifetime competing at the top of motorsport 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."

    “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 12h, 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 lead 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, so a big thanks to the racing community for the challenges, the battles and the victories, and to the fans, the teams, the competitors, the organisers, the volunteers and especially to my family!"

    “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.”
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2015
    • Like Like x 4
  2. fortyfivekev


    I've always had a soft spot for Alex and wish him a happy retirement after a successful career. I think his size counted against him a bit in F1 but he seems like a nice guy and he will be missed by sportscar fans.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper

    Another driver who probably didn't quite get the breaks in F1 he deserved but otherwise his Le Mans Wins and other achievements surely make up for it.

    Always a friendly driver and I have a few autographs from his visits to Silverstone.

    Always seriously quick in the Toyota but I can understand why he's decided he's had enough and wants to call it a day.

    He's retiring in one piece as well which is certainly a bonus! :)

    Being an arty person one feature I did find interesting is he paints all his own race helmets, mainly by airbrush and hand brush. Having done a fair bit or airbrushing I know how much patience you need! :roflmao:

    • Like Like x 2
  4. Cristian Haba

    Cristian Haba

    I remember him only in the Benetton of yesteryears, 1998 was a good year :D. Good show and good form Mr. Wurz, good luck in your future endeavors.
    • Like Like x 1
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