Lucas Auer will return to the DTM Series in 2020 with BMW Motorsport after a one year absence, taking the place of Joel Eriksson.
The former Mercedes-Benz driver has been part of the Red Bull Junior programme in 2019, competing in the Japanese Super Formula championship with the B-Max with Motopark team.
Auer agreed on a departure from Red Bull at the end of the season, having finished ninth in the standings with one podium to his name.
The announcement comes in the wake of a complete internal investigation over BMW’s disappointing ’19 campaign, a season in which it finished 582 points behind Audi Sport in the Manufacturers’ Championship.
Marco Wittmann, Philipp Eng and Bruno Spengler were the only drivers to take victory for BMW throughout the season, with Wittmann the only man to win more than one race on his way to third in the Drivers’ standings.
Spengler’s departure from the DTM after 15 years was confirmed on Tuesday, as he moves to join BMW’s IMSA programme next year.
While Auer has not inherited the French Canadian’s seat, he has replaced 21-year-old Swede Eriksson – who is expected to remain with BMW in a GT role after two years and one win in the DTM.
Four-time DTM race winner Auer said in a release on Wednesday that he has been in contact with BMW in the past.
“I am really excited about returning to the DTM with BMW,” said Auer.
“During my career, I have been in contact with BMW Motorsport on several occasions, but it all came together this time.
“I am counting down the days until I get into the car for the first time.
“I took a big step forward personally last year in Japan. The key now will be to adapt quickly to the DTM again.
“However, I am not worried about that.”
BMW’s motorsport director Jens Marquardt spoke optimistically about the addition of Auer, who – despite being just 25-years-old – has clocked up 73 races in the series over four seasons.
“I am obviously particularly happy, not only to be able to welcome him back to the DTM, but also to welcome him into the BMW family,” said Marquardt.
“In his 73 DTM races so far, Lucas has emphatically shown what he is capable of and, with four wins and ten podiums, has proven that he can mix it at the very front of the field.
“We believe that he will fit in very well with us, not only because of his huge potential as a driver, but also his friendly nature.”
Auer joins the four drivers BMW has retained from its ’19 line-up: Wittmann, Eng, Sheldon van der Linde and Timo Glock.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica is the favourite to complete the roster after a successful run in the Young Drivers’ Test last week at the Circuito de Jerez.