Jeff Burton to drive MWR’s part-time No. 66 in 2014

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Michael Waltrip Racing has announced that Sprint Cup veteran Jeff Burton will test and drive a select number of races for its third, part-time program in the 2014 season. Several media reports toward the tail end of this past year had Burton linked to such a role with MWR.

Burton, who finished his tenure with Richard Childress Racing at last month’s season finale at Homestead, will begin testing the No. 66 MWR Toyota next Monday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and his first race is slated for March 9, 2014 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“We were extremely fortunate to have a driver as experienced and respected as Jeff Burton come available,” said team co-owner Rob Kauffman in a statement. “He will be able to have an immediate impact as we continue to strive for that last one percent that separates champions from contenders.”

Burton will test until late January 2014 for MWR full-time driver Brian Vickers, who continues to recover from a blood clot in his leg that knocked him out of competition back in October.

“These are great people who have dedicated themselves to become winners at the highest level,” Burton said of his new team at MWR. “[Team co-owner] Michael [Waltrip] and Rob are so committed to success and I wanted to be a part of that.

“I’m excited to do something new and will work hard to help the other two teams compete for wins and a championship.”

Additional 2014 events for Burton, who recently surpassed 1,000 career NASCAR national series starts and has won 21 Cup races, will be announced “in the coming weeks” according to MWR.

Shortly after the announcement, Vickers expressed his happiness over Burton’s decision to join his squad on Twitter:

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”