McLaren announces Rene Rast as one of the drivers in their new Formula E team

McLaren announces Rene Rast as one of the drivers in their new Formula E team

Three-time DTM winner Rene Rast has been named as Team McLaren’s inaugural Formula E driver.

The British team, best known for their successes in Formula 1, will join the Formula E grid at the start of the Gen3 era in 2023. They currently compete in IndyCar and Extreme E.

Rast already has Formula E experience after his 2016 Berlin E-Prix debut with Team Aguri and subsequent seasons with Audi Works Team Abt in 2020 and ’21. He has 22 FE starts, two podium finishes, and a third-place top qualifying finish.

Prior to that, he won for Audi in GT sportscars and enjoyed success in the DTM with the brand. Rast said he would quit the Audi brand at the end of 2022 a week before it was known he will drive for McLaren, and he was designated a BMW factory driver for 2023 just before his FE drive was confirmed.

“As a racing fan, McLaren has always had huge appeal,” said Rast.

“It’s an iconic name in motorsport with a rich history, so I feel privileged and proud to be able to represent McLaren in FE next season.”

“I’ve done a season in FE before, it was a great experience, and I felt after that year I wasn’t done yet.”

“I’m excited that I am now getting the opportunity to continue that journey… I’m extremely motivated and have no doubt we will create something great together. I can’t wait to get started!”

Rast’s career has also been marked by victories in the World Endurance Championship, three Porsche Supercup championships, a win in the GTD class at the Daytona 24 Hours, victories in the touring car and GT championships in his native Germany, and a second-place finish in the 2016 Intercontinental GT Challenge.

His McLaren teammate’s identity is still unknown because the team’s ongoing IndyCar contract dispute may have an impact on whether one of its drivers who has a contract there decides to switch to FE for 2023.

Additionally, Nissan has released their lineup for the 2022–2023 campaign. Sebastien Buemi and Maximilian Gunther have left the team, and Norman Nato and Sacha Fenestraz, a reserve and test driver for Jaguar, have been signed.

In the 2020–21 season, Nato won as a rookie with Venturi before losing his seat. Since then, he has continued to win in the WEC while still racing for Jaguar. 

In contrast, Fenestraz is now in first place in both Japan’s highest single-seater series, Super Formula, and the Super GT championship. In the 2021–22 season finale in Seoul, he made his FE debut filling in for Antonio Giovinazzi at Dragon-Penske.

“I’m very happy to be making my comeback as a full-time driver in FE with Nissan,” said Nato. “The Gen3 era will be a new chapter for the championship, and I’m excited to prepare for testing and drive the car.”

Fenestraz, who replaced the injured Antonio Giovinazzi in the penultimate race in Seoul, called his full-time debut in Formula E “a dream come true.”

“It will be a big step forward in my career, to move up into a world championship for the first time and to be competing at such a high level against some of the best drivers in the world,” Fenestraz said.

“It’s going to be a different challenge for me as it will be my first season in an all-electric car.”

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