Ed Jones and Fabio Scherer have been announced as Audi Sport Team WRT‘s driver line-up for the 2020 DTM Series, with ’19 drivers Pietro Fittipaldi and Jonathan Aberdein making way.
Emirati-born British driver Jones has been a fixture in the NTT IndyCar Series for the past three seasons, while 20-year-old Swiss Scherer drove for the fledgling Sauber/Charouz Racing team in FIA Formula 3 for ’19.
Both drivers have been with Audi at the customary post-season young drivers’ test at the Circuito de Jerez this week.
The decision means that Haas F1 Team reserve Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson, does lose his drive after a difficult debut year in Germany’s premier touring car championship.
But the Brazilian is searching to further his single-seater career, as he currently lacks the requisite superlicence points to be in contention for a full-time seat in F1.
Aberdein’s exclusion from WRT’s ’20 plans is a surprise, after the South African ended the year as the best-placed DTM rookie and impressed with numerous good drivers through the year.
Audi Sport boss Dieter Gass rates Aberdein highly, and wishes to keep him under the marque’s umbrella.
Reigning DTM champion René Rast missed testing on Wednesday due to an undefined illness, having been scheduled to act as a benchmark for the Audi tryouts.
So far, there is no word from Audi over a problem in Rast’s future at the Team Rosberg outfit – but any change could provide Aberdein with a promotion.
Team WRT principal Vincent Vosse said in a release issued on Wednesday: “We are delighted to welcome in the team Fabio and Ed, two young drivers that have already proven their value and see in the DTM [as] the right series to develop their careers.
“Once again, we are giving an opportunity to young talent, which is one of our core principles.
“I am convinced that Fabio and Ed will contribute a lot to the growth of WRT Team Audi Sport in our crucial second season in the DTM.”
Jones, who scored a podium in the 2017 Indianapolis 500, is optimistic regarding Team WRT’s second year in the DTM and is “excited” about linking up with the runaway Manufacturers’ champion.
“I look forward joining WRT Team Audi Sport and the DTM in 2020,” said Jones.
“This is a series I have been watching closely in the past, very appealing, with high-level competition and great racing.
“I am excited to get going, with such a great team around me.
“Audi has won the title last year, WRT has done a great maiden season, and now the objective is to be on the podium, and if everything goes well, to go for a win.
“I know it is going to be tough, but we have everything to grow and perform well.“
Scherer explained that this is a sizeable step up in his career , believing that there is not “anything higher” than the DTM available to him for next season.
“It’s amazing to have this possibility and I thank you everybody who made it possible. I really look forward to 2020, I am really excited and I think we can achieve a lot.“