Harrison Newey has revealed that a phone call in which father Adrian and DTM boss Gerhard Berger were ‘talking rubbish’ opened the door to Newey securing a DTM seat for the 2020 season.
Newey was announced as the third driver in Team WRT’s DTM squad, coming in as a replacement for Ed Jones, after making a surprise appearance at the final day of pre-season testing at the Nürburgring.
Speaking in a pre-race telephone conference, Newey explained that Berger mentioned the Team WRT seat vacancy to F1 designer Adrian, which ultimately led to him appearing at the test and securing the seat.
“It was a bit of a coincidence,” said Newey, who last year competed in Super Formula. “I think firstly, Ed [Jones] unfortunately had some issues which meant he couldn’t really do the season.
“My dad was funnily enough to the phone to Gerhard [Berger], and they were just talking rubbish. And then last minute, Gerhard said ‘I think there’s an issue at WRT and there might be a seat available, maybe it’s something for Harrison to look into.’
“And he told me in the evening after the first test day. In the morning straight away I called Gerhard and said ‘I absolutely want to be in the car, at least to get a test and show them what I can do.’ So he passed me over to the team boss Vincent [Vosse].
“I just explained to him, tried to sell myself and why I should come to the test. I think managed to do an okay job and they said ‘right, come over and do the last day’.
“So I jumped in my car and drove to the track. I got there late. Jumped in the car and did the test, and I knew the opportunity was for the seat, that there was a seat available, most likely going to be a seat available and they needed to fill it.
“So it was very important for me to jump in and do a good job straight away, to show them that I deserved the seat and that I was the man that could fill that vacancy.”
Newey set the ninth-fastest time on the final test day, despite never having driven the Class One DTM machinery before. His quickest lap was seven-tenths up on reigning champion Rene Rast.