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Rast completely changing driving style to adapt to BMW GT3

Rene Rast admits he has had to completely change his driving style to prepare for his switch from Audi to BMW machinery in the DTM this year.

René Rast, Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3

René Rast, Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 GT3

Alexander Trienitz

Rast joined BMW as a factory driver in 2023, ending a 12-year association with Audi that yielded three titles in the DTM as well as victories at the Nurburgring 24 Hours and Spa 24 Hours.

Following the switch, Rast will drive the BMW M4 GT3 in the DTM this year, a car that is radically different to the Audi R8 LMS GT3 with which he finished third in the championship in 2022 with one victory at Imola.

Apart from major differences in car dimensions, with the M4 noticeably longer and wider, the BMW is powered by a turbocharged straight-six engine that is located at the front of the car, a major departure from the mid-engine layout of the Audi.

With the M4 nothing like the R8 LMS he is accustomed to, Rast explained that he has had to make changes in his own driving to ensure he can get the best out of the package.

"The car is completely different," said the German following his first test in BMW's GT3 contender.

"The BMW is a completely different car in terms of its structure alone: the engine is at the front, the car is much longer, has a different wheelbase and can therefore be moved differently. 

"I have to completely readjust and that means I have to completely change my driving style again.

"If I drive like I did with the Audi, then there's no chance! I'm really completely screwed.

 "It wasn't easy to adjust to a completely new car again, but I was satisfied.”

René Rast, Schubert Motorsport

René Rast, Schubert Motorsport

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Rast will race for the title-winning Schubert Motorsport squad in the DTM this year, teaming up with reigning champion Sheldon van der Linde.

He will be joined at Schubert by his former Team Rosberg race engineer Florian Rinkes, who played a key role in Rast's DTM title successes in 2017, ‘19 and ‘20. 

Rast said it was “strange” for people to see him represent BMW, given how closely his success was tied with Audi during his decade-long stint with the Ingolstadt-based marque.

"Many have looked at me and said 'something is different, somehow you look different'."

"I didn't see myself, of course, but even Sheldon said twice at breakfast that it was totally strange for him to see me in BMW gear.

"I understand that, too, of course. I was racing with an Audi logo for many years, and now all of a sudden with BMW, that's uncharted territory for many.

"Some of the mechanics have joked that I now look really good and am where I belong. But all joking aside, looking good is one thing, driving is another."

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