This not unexpected statement today from Toyota Gazoo Racing on the decision of Alex Wurz to retire from professional race driving after the 6 hours of Bahrain in two weeks time.
“Alex, 41, announced today that he will retire from racing after this weekend’s Six Hours of Bahrain, the final round of the 2015 World Endurance Championship.
Alex was the first driver signed by TOYOTA in 2011 when its entry into WEC was confirmed, and delivered the team its first pole position and victory in Brazil in 2012, just the team’s third race.
In his four seasons with TOYOTA, two-time Le Mans winner Alex has played a crucial role in technical development, as well as contributing to development of the whole team to meet the requirements of endurance racing.
He has been a valued and popular team member, whose presence will be sorely missed.
Prior to the season-ending Bahrain round, Alex has taken part in 27 WEC races for TOYOTA, winning five and finishing on the podium a total of 11 times.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will announce its 2016 driver line-up early next year.
Toshio Sato, Team President: “Alex has been a fundamental part of our team since the very beginning, in 2011. We have enjoyed some fantastic moments together; I know everyone in the team will remember that first victory in Sao Paulo for a long, long time. I would like to sincerely thank him for his contribution to our WEC project; his technical input, motivation and ability have been invaluable to us. Whilst it is sad to see such a respected and successful driver step away from racing, we wish Alex all the very best for the future.”
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 8 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.
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 3rd 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 12h, Petit Le Mans and securing Toyotas 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 hrs 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. Alex
Alex Wurz Career Statistics
1986 BMX World Championship: 1st
BMX European Championship: 2nd
1989 Austrian Kart Championship: 2nd
1991 European Formula Ford Cup: 2nd
Austrian Formula Ford Championship: 2nd
1992 European Formula Ford Cup: 1st
Austrian Formula Ford Championship: 1st
German Formula Ford Championship: 1st
1993 Austrian Formula 3 Championship: 1st
1994 German Formula 3 Championship: 2nd (3 wins)
1995 German Formula 3 Championship: 6th
1996 Le Mans 24 Hours (Team Joest): 1st
International Touring Car Championship (Opel): 16th
1997 Formula 1 (Benetton): 14th
FIA GT Championship (AMG Mercedes): 10th (1 win)
1998 Formula 1 (Benetton): 8th
1999 Formula 1 (Benetton): 13th
2000 Formula 1 (Benetton): 15th
2001-05 Formula 1 (McLaren): Third driver
2005 Formula 1 (McLaren): 17th (1 race)
2006 Formula 1 (Williams): Third driver
2007 Formula 1 (Williams): 11th
2008 Formula 1 (Honda): Reserve driver
2009 Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): 1st
Formula 1 (Brawn GP): Test driver
2010 Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): DNF
Sebring 12 Hours (Peugeot): 1st
2011 Le Mans 24 Hours (Peugeot): 4th
Le Mans Series / Inter. Le Mans Cup (Peugeot): 2 wins
Petit Le Mans (Peugeot): 1st
2012 Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF
World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 3rd (3 wins)
2013 Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): 4th
World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 4th (1 win)
2014 Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA Racing): DNF
World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 5th (1 win)
2015 Le Mans 24 Hours (TOYOTA GAZOO Racing): 8th
World Endurance Championship (TOYOTA Racing): 7th*
*Prior to Six Hours of Bahrain