Formula E champion di Grassi to make DTM debut with Abt

Lucas di Grassi will contest the final two rounds of the 2021 DTM season as a guest driver in a fourth Audi R8 LMS GT3 run by Abt Sportsline.

The Brazilian racer will join Abt regulars Kelvin van der Linde, Mike Rockenfeller and Sophia Floersch at Hockenheim and the Norisring next month, making his first-ever race appearances in the DTM.

His car will be decked out in the same red, yellow and green livery with which he clinched the 2016/17 Formula E title with the Abt Audi team, beating the Renault e.dams entry of Sebastien Buemi.

Di Grassi’s race outings in the last four races of the DTM campaign have been described as a “farewell present” by Abt, with the 37-year-old joining Mercedes customer Venturi in the final season of Formula E’s Gen2 era next year.

“For a long time, we thought about what we could do for Lucas as a little Formula E farewell present and how to allow our journey to continue,” said Hans-Jurgen Abt. 

“Then we came up with the crazy idea of giving Lucas a weekend in the DTM and now it will even turn into two weekends with a total of four races.” 

Di Grassi has been part of Abt’s setup since the inception of Formula E in 2014/15 and he stayed on at the team after it gained factory Audi status in 2017/18, a year after his title success.

During his seven years with the team, di Grassi scored 12 wins and 35 podiums, finishing inside the top-three in the championship for five consecutive years.

Audi’s exit from Formula E forced him to look elsewhere, but he could return to Abt should the team assemble an entry in time for the Gen3 era in 2022/23.

Although di Grassi has never raced in the DTM in the past, he did test an Audi RS5 DTM in 2013 - but chose to remain in the FIA World Endurance Championship with the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer.

"This is typical ABT,” says Lucas di Grassi. “You rarely find a relationship in sport like this in today’s world. 

“Together with ABT Sportsline, I had a fantastic time in Formula E and I hoped until the very end that I would be able to stay with them, even after Audi’s exit from Formula E. 

“Now that this didn’t work out in the end for Season 8, I am super excited that we continue our journey together for two DTM weekends. This also proves that there is hopefully much more to come in the future.”

shares
comments

Related video

Abt critical of DTM safety car timing after losing points lead
Previous article

Abt critical of DTM safety car timing after losing points lead

Next article

Why Lawson was not to blame for Assen startline chaos

Why Lawson was not to blame for Assen startline chaos
Load comments
How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions Prime

How the DTM's shambolic finale poses awkward future questions

OPINION: The scenes at the Norisring as Mercedes used blatant team orders to secure the first DTM title of the new GT3 era totally undermined the credibility of the championship. But as well as overshadowing the season, it also presents uncomfortable questions to series bosses about the direction it is headed in.

DTM
Oct 12, 2021
How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream" Prime

How Audi's new DTM flagbearer is closing on his "childhood dream"

Having learned the ropes in GT3 alongside Rene Rast, Kelvin van der Linde is in line to take up the three-time champion's baton as Audi's new DTM king. From humble origins in South Africa, it's been a remarkable journey so far for the current series leader, but he knows that the 2021 title is a long way from settled just yet.

DTM
Sep 18, 2021
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Prime

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works.

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Prime

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021
Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM Prime

Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM

The DTM moves into its bold new GT3 era with welcome support from Red Bull, which enters two AF Corse-run Ferraris. That includes one for ex-F1 driver Alex Albon, who’s determined to make a success of his GT switch

DTM
Jun 17, 2021
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