Audi's DTM exit "worst-case scenario" for 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.

Audi's DTM exit "worst-case scenario" for Rast

Audi announced on Monday that it will pull the plug on its decades-long 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.

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] was going to end."

Read Also:

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."

Additional reporting by Sven Haidinger

René Rast, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM

René Rast, Audi Sport Team Rosberg, Audi RS 5 DTM

Photo by: Paul Foster

shares
comments
Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit

Previous article

Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit

Next article

The timing of Audi’s DTM exit decision explained

The timing of Audi’s DTM exit decision explained
Load comments

About this article

Series DTM
Drivers René Rast
Author Rachit Thukral
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Prime

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 ruleset, 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 14, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to the DTM's current crisis? Prime

Does 2000 hold the answers to the 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
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Prime

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.

DTM
May 5, 2020
Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit Prime

Why the DTM must reinvent itself after Audi exit

Audi's announcement that it will withdraw from the DTM at the end of 2020 was the latest blow for a series that has lost three manufacturers in as many years. Some major soul-searching will now be required to assess how it can survive.

DTM
Apr 28, 2020
Why cynic Berger changed his mind over green tech in racing Prime

Why cynic Berger changed his mind over green tech in racing

DTM boss Gerhard Berger was a detractor of Formula E and held a reluctance for his series to embrace greener engine technologies. However, this cynic's tune has had to change to ensure DTM's existence as the motorsport world moves forward

DTM
Dec 13, 2019
What the fallout from Aston's engine split means for 2020 Prime

What the fallout from Aston's engine split means for 2020

Aston Martin's DTM arrival, via the R-Motorsport outfit, was heralded as a salvation of sorts for the series. After plenty of bumps in the road in 2019, the team finds itself in a similar position to the one it was in 12 months ago. Can it get its act together?

DTM
Dec 6, 2019
How the DTM and Super GT can build on their experiment Prime

How the DTM and Super GT can build on their experiment

The Class One 'Dream Race' staged by the DTM and SUPER GT proved a hit - from a competitive and collaborative standpoint. The next step will be for both parties to ensure a successful trial ends up being more than just that.

Super GT
Nov 29, 2019
Robot pitcrews and hydrogen – is DTM's concept plausible? Prime

Robot pitcrews and hydrogen – is DTM's concept plausible?

DTM organiser ITR has mooted a radical plan for a "truly new and inspiring" future motorsport series. How realistic are its suggestions of automated pitstops and 1000bhp hydrogen-fuelled touring cars?

DTM
Nov 11, 2019