Newey explains "coincidence" behind late DTM call-up with WRT

Harrison Newey says a phone call in which his father Adrian and ITR boss Gerhard Berger were "talking rubbish" led to him securing a seat for the 2020 DTM season

Newey explains "coincidence" behind late DTM call-up with WRT

The 22-year-old Briton received a late invitation to drive a WRT Audi on the final day of the DTM's pre-season test at the Nurburgring last month, as team's contracted driver Ed Jones was unable to leave Dubai due to travel restrictions.

On his first outing in a Class One car, Newey set the ninth-quickest lap of the day, 0.733s behind pacesetter Rene Rast.

The performance earned him a full-season drive for WRT alongside R-Motorsport exile Ferdinand Habsburg and Formula 3 graduate Fabio Scherer, as Jones dropped entirely out of the outfit's expanded three-car line up for 2020.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's season opener at Spa-Francorchamps, Newey explained that a phone call between his father - Formula 1 design legend Adrian - and Berger on the opening day of the four-day test opened the door for a last-minute call-up, which eventually led to him securing the final seat on the grid.

"It was a bit of coincidence," Newey said.

"My dad was funnily enough on the phone to Gerhard (the pair are pictured below in 2006) and they were talking just rubbish.

"And then last minute Gerhard said 'there is some issue with WRT and there might be a seat available, maybe something Harrison could look into'. And he told me in the evening after the first test day.

"So in the morning straight away I called Gerhard and said, 'I absolutely want to be in the car, at least to get a test and show them what I can do'."

Having been put in touch with WRT boss Vincent Vosse, the former Super Formula racer managed to arrange a test in the knowledge that a seat was "most likely going to be available".

"It was very important for me to do jump in and do a good job straight away, to show them I deserve the seat," he added.

The 2020 DTM season will kick off at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on 1-2 August, the Belgian circuit making its return to the calendar for the first time since 2005.

Audi's Jamie Green is the only driver on the current grid to have driven at Spa in a DTM race weekend, although several others have driven the track in other categories.

Newey believes Spa's 15-year absence from the calendar will aid his transition as a rookie.

"I think it's an advantage for me that we start at Spa because as well as being new to me and the car being new to me, it's a new track in terms of DTM for everyone," Newey said.

"There are a lot of experienced guys on the grid.

"If we were starting at one of the regular tracks, maybe it would make it more difficult myself. I'm thankful for that."

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