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DTM at Hockenheim: Formula E star has GT bill open

Lucas di Grassi (37) can still remember exactly. After all, you don’t see a picture like this every day. The Brazilian was enthroned in Macau after a mass crash at the top of the “rubble field” in which twelve of the 20 drivers of the GT World Cup were stuck. “Yes, the car with the number eleven, that’s me,” laughs di Grassi when the picture is displayed at the press conference before his guest start on the penultimate race weekend of the DTM in Hockenheim.
He takes it with humor that his last outing in a GT car ended as abruptly as it was curious. His DTM guest appearance is similarly curious: it is a farewell present from the Abt team after seven years together in Formula E. The design of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 (approx. 550 hp) is designed accordingly: the racer drives in the look of Di Grassi’s Formula E champion car from the 2017/18 season. A tribute to a successful pioneering time in the electric formula.

Lucas di Grassi

The Brazilian initially thought the idea was a joke. “When Abt team boss Thomas Biermaier told me this idea in Berlin, I thought he was joking,” reveals the Brazilian. His reaction? A joke: “I said: ‘If you pay me enough, I’ll drive!’ But then this crazy idea became more and more reality. “

Abt-Audi left Formula E at the end of 2021. With Lucas di Grassi at the wheel, the team was there from the start. But di Grassi stays with Formula E. The Brazilian will drive for Venturi in 2022.

In addition, he does not want to rule out further engagement. “I don’t know what I’ll be doing in two or three years, but if I don’t drive Formula E, the DTM would probably be my first choice because the championship is extremely top-class,” he says.

Since the DTM will be using GT3 regulations for the first time in 2021, di Grassi will initially get the chance to “make amends” after the Macau experience as a farewell gift. “I ended my last GT race with a crash at the top, but not at the top of the list of results,” he laughs: “Macau was a disaster, so I still have a bill in the GT car.”

Kelvin van der Linde

In order to be able to settle this, he completed a test day in Hockenheim last week, but shared the car with his Abt team-mates Kelvin van der Linde and Mike Rockenfeller. Di Grassi: “Every lap was valuable to learn the track and the car. But it wasn’t enough, because I consider the quality of the drivers in the DTM to be very strong. It is extremely difficult to just jump into the field. “

His goal is therefore comparatively modest. “I have very little experience with the GT3 car. ABS, traction control, shifting – these are all things that I’m no longer used to, ”says di Grassi. “I will have a bit of fun in the DTM, not bother the title candidates or the others too much, and just gain my first experiences.”

If the opportunity arises that he can support van der Linde in the fight for the title, he will of course do so. “If I were in that position, I would have already achieved a great goal,” admits di Gassi. “I would definitely help him, although it is very unlikely.”

Van der Linde could use the help, he is now only third overall with 160 points. Before the penultimate race weekend at Hockenheim, Liam Lawson (AF Corse) is in the lead, the New Zealander has 175 points. Marco Wittmann (Walkenhorst / 165) is second with 165 points. Maximilian Götz is also in the title race, the HRT driver is fourth with 150 points.

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