Jonathan Aberdein is jumping ship from Audi to BMW for the 2020 DTM season. The South African, who had his maiden DTM campaign in 2019 with Belgian privateer outfit Team WRT, is joining BMW’s factory effort, replacing the IMSA-bound Bruno Spengler.
Aberdein impressed during his first season in DTM with regular strong qualifying and race performances when he partnered Pietro Fittipaldi, but both drivers were not retained for 2020 when WRT opted to sign Formula 3 points scorer Fabio Scherer and IndyCar refugee Ed Jones for its sophomore campaign.
“BMW has given me an incredible opportunity to become a BMW works driver in 2020 and I’m very thankful for that”, said Aberdein. “I’m ecstatic to be participating in another season of DTM, I will be looking to build on my strong rookie year in 2019. I look forward to taking on this challenge with BMW.”
Notably, Aberdein is not the first South African to leave Audi for BMW, with fellow 2019 debutant Sheldon van der Linde ending his Audi factory GT commitments for a BMW DTM seat, which he has retained for 2020.
BMW’s factory line-up for 2020 now consists of Aberdein, Van der Linde, as well as two-time champion Marco Wittmann, Philipp Eng, Timo Glock and the returning Lucas Auer. With BMW’s factory ranks now filled up, this leaves Robert Kubica’s future in DTM uncertain, although some have suggested he would take up a seat with a yet to be confirmed customer team instead.
“I am delighted that we have been able to give our last free DTM works seat to such a promising and extremely talented young racing driver as Jonathan Aberdein,” said BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.
“He demonstrated his potential emphatically in last season’s DTM, when he repeatedly challenged his fellow works drivers and often beat them. I am confident that he will be a great addition to our strong driver line-up. Generally speaking, with our two newcomers Jonathan Aberdein and Lucas Auer joining our four established drivers, we have assembled an outstanding team.”