World Rally Champion, Sebastien Loeb will make his DTM debut later this month in Portimao, joining Felipe Fraga in Red Bull’s lineup.
Loeb will replace Nick Cassidy in the opening round of the 2022 DTM season on April 30-May 1, as announced by Motorsport.com last week, because the Kiwi is unavailable due to his Formula E commitments with Envision Racing.
Last week, the nine-time World Rally Champion got his first feel of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 at Spa-Francorchamps, and he’ll be at Hockenheim this weekend for the official pre-season test.
Loeb might be in line for more DTM appearances later in the year, with Cassidy certain to miss the Norisring race in July due to Formula E, and possibly the Spa weekend owing to a clash with the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“Throughout my career, I have always liked to change between disciplines,” said Loeb.
“DTM is a famous championship and as the opportunity came up for me to compete in it, I took it, of course. It is an exciting challenge because the driving style is entirely different.”
“Now, it is time to work. I will be up against specialists in such racers and my last proper GT3 race already is a long time ago.”
“My goal will be to find my rhythm as well as I can and I will try to use my experience to give the team good feedback about the set-up of the car.”
“I know that it will be difficult but the cars really are fun to drive. Really fast, nice cars.”
“Therefore, I am looking forward to it.”
Loeb has had a strong start to his 2022 campaign, coming second in the Dakar Rally to Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah before defeating Sebastien Ogier in a two-horse fight between the WRC’s best drivers at Rally Monte Carlo.
His 2022 schedule includes a full season with the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team in the new FIA Rally Raid Championship and an Extreme E campaign with Lewis Hamilton’s X44 outfit. The British Prodrive business manages both of those teams.
Loeb isn’t the first rally driver to race in the DTM in recent years, as Ogier did it with Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring in 2018.
DTM boss Gerhard Berger commented on Loeb’s debut race: “Having the most successful rally driver of all times with us in our season opener at Portimao is a genuine highlight that fans can look forward to.”
“The achievements in his career speak for themselves, but nevertheless, it will be a hard competition against very strong drivers, for Sebastien Loeb as well.”
“Standing in for Nick Cassidy, he will be fighting for points with the AlphaTauri Ferrari, so therefore I am certain that a champion of his stature will be highly motivated coming to the race track.”
Last year, the AF Corse-run Red Bull team won the teams’ championship in the first season of the DTM’s GT3 era, with Liam Lawson finishing second to Maximilian Gotz after a contentious season finale.