Rast leaves Audi, switch to McLaren?

Is that the last indication that René Rast is switching to McLaren in Formula E? Audi has announced that the three-time DTM champion will be leaving the car manufacturer from Ingolstadt after twelve years after the finale in Hockenheim (October 8/9).
Rast has been active in motorsport for the four rings since 2011 – initially primarily with the Audi R8 LMS GT3 racing car. Highlights in the early years were a championship title in the ADAC GT Masters (2014) and victories in the 24-hour races in Spa (2012), on the Nürburgring (2014) and in Daytona (2012 and 2016). In 2015, Rast was also part of the Audi driver squad at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Above all, a call in the late evening of July 16, 2016 was to change René Rast’s life and career. The question was whether he could come to Zandvoort immediately to stand in for the injured Adrien Tambay in Sunday’s DTM race in Audi Sport Team Rosberg. René Rast had always dreamed of the DTM and spontaneously accepted. Without any preparation, he sat in the Audi RS 5 DTM on Sunday and set the fastest lap in the race on the demanding race track in a top-class field.

When Mattias Ekström missed the season finale in Hockenheim a few months later due to a scheduling conflict with the World Rallycross Championship, René Rast was given his next chance in the DTM. He promptly collected his first points and made such a strong impression on his first “real” DTM outing that he was given a permanent place in the DTM with Audi for the 2017 season.

What followed was a small piece of motorsport history: René Rast managed the feat of winning the championship title in his very first DTM season. Only six other drivers had managed that before him. The years that followed proved that the first title was no coincidence: Within four years, Rast won the championship title three times with Audi Sport Team Rosberg, and in 2018 he missed another title as runner-up after an impressive comeback by just four points.

René Rast has been active in motorsport for the four rings since 2011 and has celebrated many successes.

After the end of Audi’s DTM commitment, Rast started for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team in Formula E. The German also proved his extraordinary qualities in the electric racing series with several podium finishes and a strong racing performance. And the comeback in the DTM with an Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II from the ABT Sportsline team is also taking place in Rast style: Halfway through the 2022 season, he is the best Audi driver in third place in the standings and has a good chance with eight races to go to his fourth DTM title.

“What René Rast has achieved for Audi Sport, especially in the DTM, is unique,” says Audi’s CTO Oliver Hoffmann. “It is all the more painful that we have to let René go as a racing driver after so many successful years together. Our motorsport program is currently being completely reorganized as part of the electrification of the company. And René is at a point in his career where he wants to set a new course.”

“This decision was anything but easy for me,” says Rast. “Audi has been my life in recent years. We worked fantastically together and celebrated many great successes. I will never forget those moments.”

Of course, his championship title stands out. Rast: “The Class 1 era in the DTM was the absolute highlight for me. The Audi RS 5 DTM with its four-cylinder turbo engine was a fantastic racing car. Unfortunately, that era ended far too quickly. I was also unlucky with the Le Mans prototypes and in Formula E, having only just joined the team when the programs ended. That was really a pity. I enjoy the DTM with GT3 racing cars a lot more than I could ever have imagined. But I still have a few goals in motorsport that I want to achieve. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I have to say goodbye to the Audi fans after the end of the 2022 season.”

In the scene it is rumored that the DTM star already has a new job: At McLaren-Nissan he is to start in Formula E for the reigning world champion team. Background: Mercedes sells the team to McLaren for the new season.

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