Image credit: Audi Sport
When Audi announced German René Rast (far right) as a new LMP driver in December 2014 they could not have given the the up-and-coming Westphalia racer a better Christmas present. He joins fellow German André Lottere as the only two German drivers in Audi Sport Team Joest.
But who is René Rast? He’s perhaps one of the most successful upcoming sportscar racers many have never heard of. Born in 1986 in Minden in Germany’s Westphalia region, he began his karting career at 8 years old.
Rast is no stranger to Audi’s parent company either having won the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup in 2005 for Volkswagen Motorsport.
Competing in Formula BMW ADAC he was a regular in the pole sitter’s spot and the on the top step of the podium. In 2006, his debut season in the Seat Cup, Rast finished as vice champion and he has built up a wealth of sportscar experience since having competed in series such as the Porsche Supercup and Blancpain Sprint.
In 2008 he was selected for “Motorsport Talent of the Year” and in 2010, at 23 years old, Rast become the youngest Porsche Mobil1 Supercup champion.
In 2012 he made the next big move on the sportscar ladder winning the 24 Hours of Daytona GT division, driving a Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
As we move forwards to 2014 Rast won the Nürburgring 24 Hours with Phoenix Racing and the Spa 24 Hours with the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT – two of the most important GT endurance races.
Last year also saw him take the title in the ADAC GT Masters, one of the best GT3 racing series worldwide, with Team Prosperia C. Abt Racing.
Besides his undoubted driving talent, he displayed valuable personal and coaching skills while there as well. His team-mate Kelvin van der Linde from South Africa was only 17 years old at the beginning of the season and benefited greatly from the support and mentoring he received from Rast.
In December last year, Audi Sport Team Joest decided it was time the talented German driver was elevated to the pinnacle of the sportscar ladder and announced him as one of the drivers of the third R18 e-tron Quattro for the Spa 6 Hours and the Le Mans 24 Hours rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
“Having been accepted into the LMP driver line-up was a dream for me,” beamed the excited Rast. “Every racer pursues the aim of being able to compete for a manufacturer in a major motorsport program.
“We’re only successful as a team – that goes for both GT and LMP racing,”
Rast will be sharing the cockpit of the #9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro with Filipe Albuquerque (P) and Marco Bonanomi (I) – two drivers he already knows well from Audi’s GT programs.