DTM News: Audi exit "worst-case scenario" for champion Rene Rast

Rene Rast has described Audi's exit from the DTM as the "worst case scenario" and reminiscent of the German manufacturer's withdrawal from the FIA World Endurance Championship

DTM News: Audi exit "worst-case scenario" for champion Rene Rast

Audi announced on Monday that it will pull the plug on its 20-year DTM programme at the end of 2020 season to focus on Formula E and customer racing, with the coronavirus pandemic also cited as one of the key reasons for its withdrawal.

This is the second time the Ingolstadt-based brand has pulled out of a major championship in recent years, following its departure from WEC's LMP1 category after 2016. Audi's move has left its six factory DTM drivers and likely three WRT privateers without a seat, although they could be accommodated elsewhere in Audi's motorsport portfolio.

How the DTM landed itself in crisis

Moreover, the decision could threaten the very existence of the DTM, as the series cannot survive with just a single manufacturer in BMW.

Rast, who has won two of the last three DTM titles with Audi, was informed about the manufacturer's decision before the official announcement, but admitted that the news was still hard to digest.

"A day like today is the worst case scenario for an active racing driver," Rast said on his Twitch stream after the announcement.

"But I will continue to do motorsport. I firmly believe in that. In what form, we'll see.

"It wasn't a surprise for us. Of course there have been many discussions, rumours, and [with] the corona crisis it was foreseeable that something like this could happen. But even though you already knew it, now that it has happened it is a bit harder.

"I still remember when I got a call in the morning of my birthday in 2016 that the LMP1 project [which Rast was a part of via its third Le Mans 24 Hours entry in 2015] was going to end."

Although Rast has only been in the DTM for three full seasons, he first entered the paddock back in 2003 when he competed in the supporting Formula BMW ADAC category.

"Of course, the withdrawal has a big impact for me because the DTM has always been part of my life," he said.

"I spent many years in the DTM, not only drove in the DTM, but also in the paddock.

"That was 17 years ago and that's when I was part of the DTM for the first time. And from that point on I always dreamed of racing in the DTM at some point. I would have liked to have won even more championship titles.

"For me, the DTM has always been a series that, next to Formula 1, is the highest in terms of the drivers in the field.

"We didn't have any pay drivers, everyone was at a top level, everyone was able to keep up with Formula 1 giants.

"I'm still a huge DTM fan, so it's a difficult day for me."

shares
comments
DTM News: Audi to quit series at the end of 2020

Previous article

DTM News: Audi to quit series at the end of 2020

Next article

How the DTM landed itself in crisis

How the DTM landed itself in crisis
Load comments
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Plus

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021
Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM Plus

Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM

The DTM moves into its bold new GT3 era with welcome support from Red Bull, which enters two AF Corse-run Ferraris. That includes one for ex-F1 driver Alex Albon, who’s determined to make a success of his GT switch - but he knows it won't be easy...

DTM
Jun 17, 2021
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Plus

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One rule set, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race

DTM
Oct 13, 2020
How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror Plus

How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror

Opel's fortunes in the DTM had taken a turn for the worst by 2003 - hardly the pedigree that suggested it could take on the toughest 24-hour race of them all. But that's exactly what it did

DTM
Sep 23, 2020
The season that revitalised a sleeping giant Plus

The season that revitalised a sleeping giant

On the 20th anniversary of the resumption of hostilities in the DTM, Autosport revisits a classic season that brought a staple of German motorsport back to life with a bang and set in motion the careers of some notable names

DTM
May 28, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis? Plus

Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions Plus

The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions

The Opel Vectra GTS was the last in the line of the marque's DTM challengers, but failed to hit the lofty heights of its predecessors when financial constraints hit

DTM
May 15, 2020
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Plus

Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers

Audi last week announced it would be exiting the DTM at the end of 2020, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of continuous participation since the series' reboot in 2000. Autosport's expert panel ranks its 10 best drivers from the period

DTM
May 5, 2020