After Audi’s factory exit, Lucas di Grassi continues his Formula E career with the Venturi team, but his heart still beats for ABT Sportsline. And the esteem for the charismatic Brazilian is also unbroken for Hans-Jürgen Abt and Thomas Biermaier.
“For a long time, we thought about what we could do for Lucas as a little Formula E farewell present and how to allow our journey to continue,” says Hans-Jürgen Abt. “Then we came up with the crazy idea of giving Lucas a weekend in the DTM and now it will even turn into two weekends with a total of four races.”
Lucas di Grassi will contest the last four DTM races of the 2021 season at Hockenheim (October 2/3) and the Norisring (October 9/10) as a teammate of Kelvin van der Linde, Mike Rockenfeller and Sophia Flörsch. The highlight: The Formula E star will be racing with a design based on his spectacular championship-winning Formula E car of the 2016/2017 season.
“This unique campaign was made possible by our great partners, who all immediately spontaneously agreed when we presented our not-so-ordinary idea to them,” says ABT Sport marketing Director Harry Unflath. “I am proud that with Fujitsu, H&R, HYLA, Gullwing, KUKA, Remus, Schaeffler, Scherer, SONAX, SÜDPACK and Würth Electronics we have such fantastic partners with whom you can even pull off such spontaneous campaigns. Thanks also to Riga Mainz for lending us their car for these events.”
“This is typical ABT,” says Lucas di Grassi. “You rarely find a relationship in sport like this in today’s world. Together with ABT Sportsline, I had a fantastic time in Formula E and I hoped until the very end that I would be able to stay with them, even after Audi’s exit from Formula E. Now that this didn’t work out in the end for Season 8, I am super excited that we continue our journey together for two DTM weekends. This also proves that there is hopefully much more to come in the future.”
Lucas di Grassi knows the GT car from, among other things, a race in the GT World Cup in Macau. The Brazilian won at the Norisring in 2016 as a guest driver in the Audi Sport TT Cup.
Lucas di Grassi is a United Nations (UN) Ambassador for Clean Air and an advocate of emission-free mobility. “Of course, you can ask yourself how this fits in with the DTM,” says ABT CEO Thomas Biermaier. “The answer is simple: DTM is also looking ahead and is intensively dealing with the topic of sustainability. E-fuels are an interesting possibility. Our partner Schaeffler is also working on the DTM Electric together with Gerhard Berger and the ITR – this is an exciting project for the future.”
Currently, the DTM is still using internal combustion engines. That’s why every kilometre that Lucas di Grassi completes at Hockenheim and the Norisring is compensated by his partner Moss. Moss is an innovative company that combines CO2 offsetting with blockchain technology.
At Hockenheim and the Norisring, Lucas di Grassi can rely on his familiar environment from Formula E. Markus Michelberger, his long-time race engineer from the electric racing series, will also be there as part of his crew of mechanics from Formula E.
“These will be two very emotional DTM weekends for us,” says Thomas Biermaier, who also has a message for Venturi team boss Susie Wolff: “Lucas is only on loan!”