Audi Sport have now decided on their six-driver team for the 2017 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season, with both Loïc Duval and René Rast being given the opportunity to race for the Ingolstadt brand.
With Edoardo Mortara switching to Mercedes and Timo Scheider announcing his retirement at the Hockenheim season finale, two former champions in the form of Mattias Ekström and Mike Rockenfeller will lead the Audi assault, along with DTM veteran Jamie Green and Swiss racer, Nico Müller.
Duval’s switch to the DTM was after the sudden closure of Audi’s WEC program, along with having Super GT and current Formula E experience, as the 34-year-old competes with Faraday Future Dragon Racing.
Rast has made a very good impression after three races this year, which saw him stand in for Adrien Tambay at Zandvoort and Ekström at Hockenheim, and has been one of the premier drivers in GT racing. Both drivers are well-versed in the Ingolstadt structure, having joined the brand in 2012 and 2011 respectively.
This also sees the departure of Tambay and Spain’s Miguel Molina, with the later having win two races at Lausitz and Hockenheim, and being the only Spaniard to have won in the DTM, taking each of his wins at a different track.
“I’d like to thank Miguel, Edo, Timo and Adrien for our joint years in the DTM and wish them all the best for the future,” stated Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, who admits that with the changes made in the team, Audi will be preparing for the new challenges 2017 will bring.
“We always worked together well and jointly celebrated gratifying success on a number of occasions. Consequently, with every one of these four, it was difficult for us to say goodbye.”
“We’re happy that our driver squad for the new DTM season is complete,” said Dieter Gass, Head of DTM at Audi Sport.
“In Mattias and Mike, we have two Champions on board who in my book will be among the favorites next year, not least due to the new rules and tires. Jamie, no doubt, is one of the strongest campaigners in the DTM. Nico convinced us with consistently good performances and his first victory last season.
“Not only on delivering a strong race in the finale at Hockenheim, René has shown that he’s also going to be in contention at the very front in the DTM. And in Loïc, we’ve integrated one of our best drivers from the Le Mans program into our squad. I’m convinced that we’re in a top position with our driver lineup for the 2017 season and have six strong characters in our team.”