BMW M Motorsport announced back in early August that Team WRT, which had long been associated with Audi, was switching to BMW to run the FIA WEC program with the new M Hybrid V8 prototype in 2024. Now, BMW has announced that they’ve also signed René Rast, who has been one of Audi’s most successful race drivers over the last several years.

The 35-year-old Rast certainly has an impressive resume. He’s won the DTM championship three times (in 2017, 2019, and 2020) and has won 24-hour races at Spa (twice) and the Nürburgring. He also won the ADAC GT Masters championship in 2014. Some of those wins came with Team WRT, who he’s likely to be driving for in 2024 in the WEC championship and at Le Mans. He also has prototype experience, having raced in LMP1, LMP2, and DPi cars in addition to GT cars, and he’s raced in Formula E as well.

Head of BMW M Motorsport Andreas Roos is happy to have Rast on board with BMW. “I know René Rast very well from my time at Audi and I am delighted that we will work together now at BMW M Motorsport,” he said. “René is a very versatile racing driver and a fantastic addition to our squad of drivers. His success speaks for itself. He has immediately been fast in every car he has driven so far. He also has a meticulous approach to his job, which has always impressed me. I am confident that he will be a great help to us in many areas, whether it be racing or developing our cars.”

Interestingly, Rast got his start in Formula BMW in 2003 and 2004. “After so many successful years at Audi, I am looking forward to a new challenge,” says Rast. “I followed what has been going on at BMW M Motorsport in the past years and a long time ago, I took my first steps in motor racing in Formula BMW. Returning to BMW now, almost twenty years later, is a great story and a logical step for me.”

It has not been announced if Rast will spend the 2023 season working on continued development of the M Hybrid V8 for the WEC entry in 2024, or if he’ll be driving the car in the IMSA GTP class here in the US. There’s also every likelihood that he could be driving an M4 GT3 for BMW next season, at least in the 24-hour endurance races. As for now, he’ll finish out the remainder of the DTM season with Audi and Team ABT, where he is currently fourth in the driver’s championship with a win at Imola and podium finishes at the Lausitzring and the Norisring.
—David Haueter

[Photo by Audi Communications Motorsport]

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