Reigning DTM champion Rene Rast has said that he will not be competing in the series in 2021 due to his commitments with Audi in Formula E.
Rast held off a challenge from Nico Müller to win the last of his three DTM championships in 2020.
This was the German series’ final season under the Class One ruleset. Before that, he also took the title in 2017 and 2019.
Despite becoming one of the championship’s most successful and popular drivers since debuting for Audi in 2016, the German explained in a post on social media that he will not make defend his third title in the championship’s new GT3 era.
“So this year I won’t be able to race in DTM,” Rast wrote. “After four years of racing in DTM this decision wasn’t easy but together with Audi Sport we decided that my main focus will be in Formula E this year.”
Rast will be making his full-season debut at the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler squad during the 2021 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, partnering Lucas di Grassi.
He first raced for the team in the second half of the 2020 campaign, when he stepped in to replace the fired Daniel Abt. He took his first Formula E podium with a third place in the penultimate round of the Berlin finale.
“Combining both programs would have been more or less impossible, also due to race clashes on the same weekend,” Rast wrote to explain his decision to prioritize Formula E over a DTM title defence.
“But this doesn’t mean that I will not come back to DTM one day.”
Audi is set to terminate its factory involvement in Formula E at the end of the 2021 season.