Lucas Auer's Red Bull exit confirmed with BMW DTM move in 2020
Lucas Auer will return to DTM in 2020 with BMW Motorsport which confirms his exit from the Red Bull Junior Team programme.
Auer signed with Red Bull ahead of the 2019 season as Dr. Helmut Marko hoped that he has enough superlience points, so as to compete in F1. They also signed Patricio O'Ward with a similar idea in mind as both raced in the Super Formula series.
While Auer raced for a full year with B-Max Racing with Motopark Honda, O'Ward came as a replacement for Daniel Ticktum at Team Mugen Honda. It didn't work out for the latter, while the former still managed a podium finish to be ninth in his rookie season.
O'Ward pulled out of Red Bull squad early and signed with McLaren in IndyCar, while Auer saw-through the season to complete his contract with the Austrian firm. Last week, Marko noted about the the 24-year-old's exit in an interview to Motorsport-Total.
This news got validated with BMW announcing Auer as one of its DTM driver for 2020, as he returns to the German touring car series, thereby shelving his F1 plans. With Mercedes no longer in play, the Austrian has signed with the other German manufacturer.
He replaces Bruno Spengler, who will compete in IMSA for BMW, as the team also confirmed Marco Wittmann, Philipp Eng, Timo Glock and Sheldon van der Linde for the new season, with one seat remaining which could feature Robert Kubica.
The Polish driver tested the BMW M4 machine at Jerez alongside Nick Yelloly and is looking for a full-time future in the championship. Whoever gets the seat, he will take up Joel Eriksson's place, who is discussing a future with BMW in GT racing.
"I am really excited about returning to the DTM with BMW," said Auer. "During my career, I have been in contact with BMW Motorsport on several occasions, but it all came together this time. I am counting down the days until I get into the car for the first time.
"I took a big step forward personally last year in Japan. The key now will be to adapt quickly to the DTM again. However, I am not worried about that." At the same time, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Maqrquardt stated: "Welcome back to the DTM, Lucas Auer.
"I am obviously particularly happy, not only to be able to welcome him back to the DTM, but also to welcome him into the BMW family. In his 73 DTM races so far, Lucas has emphatically shown what he is capable of and, with four wins and ten podiums, has proven that he can mix it at the very front of the field.
"We believe that he will fit in very well with us, not only because of his huge potential as a driver, but also his friendly nature." Apart from BMW, only Audi has named Jamie Green, Nico Mueller, Ed Jones and Fabio Scherer for the 2020 DTM season.
[Image courtesy: BMW Motorsport] [Note: This story was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]