Two-time DTM champion Rene Rast will drive alongside Lucas di Grassi at Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler for the final six rounds of the 2019-20 ABB Formula E championship.
He replaces Daniel Abt in the team after his countryman was fired by Audi for allowing a professional e-racer to take his place at one of the virtual ePrix held during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Rast will test the Audi FE06 car next month ahead of the final six rounds which are all due to take place over nine days at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport.
It will be his second time in a Formula E car having previously driven a one-off race for Team Aguri at the 2016 Berlin ePrix, where he failed to finish after contact with Bruno Senna.
But despite so long away from the series, Rast is hoping to get up to speed quickly with his test next month and time spent in the Audi simulator.
Rast said, “I’ve been following Formula E very closely for a long time and am now looking forward to this new challenge.
“The demands on the drivers in Formula E are high: In addition to pure speed, it’s also a question of efficiency, battery management and the perfect strategy – and all of this on tight city circuits, where things are usually quite turbulent.
“But, with the testing at the beginning of July and my experience in the simulator, I’ll will try to be as well prepared as possible when I arrive in Berlin,” before wryly saying “And with six races in nine days, I’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn quickly.”
Rast comes into Formula E off the back of three successful years in DTM, winning the title in 2017 and 2019 and only narrowly missing out to Gary Paffett in 2018.
The remaining Formula E races don’t clash with the DTM schedule, and Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass said that his recent success naturally put Rast at the top of the manufacture’s shortlist when considering their new driver.
“As a two-time DTM Champion and long-time Audi driver, René was naturally on the shortlist from the very beginning,” Gass said.
“In the past, he has often proved how fast he is in a new series without having to get used to it. It’s nice that there are no overlaps between DTM and Formula E so that René can compete in both series for us.”