Ex-DTM racer Maro Engel replaces Mike Conway in Venturi Formula E team

Mercedes GT driver Maro Engel will drive for the Venturi Formula E team in the 2016/17 season

Ex-DTM racer Maro Engel replaces Mike Conway in Venturi Formula E team

The 30-year-old former DTM driver replaces Mike Conway alongside Stephane Sarrazin at the Monegasque outfit.

Engel won the inaugural FIA GT World Cup in Macau last year, and this season helped Mercedes win the Nurburgring 24 Hours.

He competed a half-day test with Venturi in the summer of 2015 before rejoining the team to lead the development of its Venturi VM200-FE-02.

"The last few years I've been racing with a roof over my head so I'm looking forward to racing a formula car again," Engel told Autosport.

"The opportunity to test and develop the season three car was something I really enjoyed, something I wanted to do since last summer.

"It sort of grew from there and when they presented the opportunity to race the car it was something I definitely wanted to do."

Engel started his career in single-seaters, finishing second in British Formula 3 in 2007 before switching to the DTM with Mercedes.

He will continue his Blancpain commitments with Mercedes' Black Falcon GT squad alongside his new FE programme.

Engel thanked the German manufacturer for giving him permission to return to single-seaters, and described FE as "the place to be" for drivers.

"It is something I've been following since season one," he said.

"It's got great drivers, cities and teams and more and more manufacturers.

"I've adapted to the car very well but it's hard to put it into numbers right now.

"We've done some good work over this break to improve the package and we're confident.

"I'm aware I'm a rookie in this series and experience is a very important part of motorsport. It will be a steep learning curve."

Franck Baldet, who has been in charge of the development of Venturi's 2016/17 powertrain, praised Engel's professionalism, accuracy of feedback and consistency during the team's test programme.

Baldet revealed outgoing Toyota LMP1 driver Conway's departure was aided by a sponsor request for the team to field a German driver.

"Mike was a fantastic driver and we appreciated a lot the way he was with the team," said Baldet.

"It was not a pleasure to say he would not continue with us, but it's mixed because Maro will be a very exceptional driver for us.

"He knows the car but he doesn't know the tracks and how difficult it is to fight during the FE races.

"This will be the challenge for him to succeed."

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