Antonio Felix da Costa says that one of the reasons why he chose to move away from BMW was to get more freedom in his career as a professional racing driver.
Speaking for the first time since it was confirmed that he would part with the German manufacturer, da Costa told e-racing365 that a desire to have greater flexibility in what he races formed part of the decision to move.
The 28-year-old competed in a variety of disciplines for BMW but saw his options limited after the manufacturer withdrew its M8 GTE program from the FIA World Endurance Championship after a single season.
Da Costa is expected to be announced as a DS Techeetah Formula E driver this month in a deal that will also allow him to contest most of the 2019-20 WEC in the JOTA LMP2 entry he shares with Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez.
Last month, he told Sportscar365 that he would likely put his anticipated Formula E full-season commitment ahead of his WEC duty with JOTA in the event of date clashes between the two series.
“I now have the freedom to race LMP cars which is something I have been looking forward to,” Da Costa told e-racing365.
“I really wanted to go back to a high downforce car and to have the chance to do that now was very good.”
Da Costa has a history of staying with teams for several years dating back to his karting days and also his junior single-seater career, which he conducted largely with Carlin Motorsport and Motorpark before he signed with BMW in 2014.
The Portuguese driver expressed his gratitude to BMW for his time as a factory driver, which included stints in Formula E, WEC, DTM and various GT3-based series.
“I have a lot of love for BMW and they have been my racing family for many years. They turned me into a professional driver and there is a lot to thank them for,” he said.
“There are a lot more positives to take than negatives from this relationship.”
But da Costa also hinted at some regret in the withdrawal of the M8 GTE program after a single season, which showed flashes of promise in the GTE-Pro category of the WEC.
“I was sad, let’s say, when I heard that was coming to an end because I got sold on an opportunity to do the WEC and I left DTM to come and do WEC,” he said.
“I was announced as the first M8 GTE test driver by BMW and it was something I followed through from day zero and then to do one season wasn’t nice.”
Da Costa’s final race with the factory BMW GT program was the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, which came a month before his last race with the manufacturer in the New York City Formula E round.