Coulthard says he was missing the adrenalin rush of racing
BBC pundit David Coulthard is to return to the race track this season having agreed to drive for Mercedes in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM).
The 39-year-old said that his decision would mean he could enjoy the "buzz" of racing while also continuing his duties in Formula 1 with BBC Sport.
"I always said I wasn't hanging up my helmet for good because I didn't believe I was over racing," he said.
"I just knew my time as an F1 driver had reached its natural conclusion."
The DTM calendar is organised so none of the races clash with a grand prix so Coulthard will continue in his role as a pundit alongside Eddie Jordan and presenter Jake Humphrey through the 2010 season.
People in F1 knew I wasn't looking to make a return in F1
Coulthard, who won 13 grands prix in a 15-year career that saw him score more points than any British F1 driver in history, said: "I didn't actively look to race anything through 2009 but at the final race of the DTM season I really got the buzz and the tingle again for the competition.
"That led to a test with Mercedes, which led to me making the decision that I'd like to dovetail my BBC work with racing in the DTM.
"There's a reasonable level of technology involved in the cars, it's a professionally run championship and in Mercedes there's a company I worked with for seven years in my time at McLaren."
Coulthard, who retired from F1 at the end of 2008 and retains a role as a consultant for Red Bull, said he had never seriously considered a return to grand prix racing despite interest last year.
"I had a call from one of the teams which I never returned because people in F1 knew I wasn't looking to make a return in F1," he said.
The DTM lines up top drivers in muscular cars from Mercedes and Audi
"The adrenalin is the thing I miss in everyday life.
"Do I miss the competition? Only because I know how much fun it is to compete. But there's not a big void in my life which means I'm missing it.
"But if I can do a championship which fits with my other commitments and I get the buzz you get behind the wheel of a racing car, then why would I not take it?
"I'm almost 40, I won't have that option open to me when I'm almost 50.
"I raced for 26 years, only 15 of them were in F1, so there was a number of other years of racing in other formula."
In the DTM, Coulthard will join German former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, as well as McLaren and Force India reserve drivers Gary Paffett of England and Scot Paul di Resta.