Historic Race Marathon

This has never been seen before at Audi Sport: Taking part in twelve races within 23 days and that with two very different cars. This is what awaits Audi factory drivers René Rast, Robin Frijns and Nico Müller and their teams in the DTM and Formula E races.

07/15/2020 Reading Time: 6 min

Audi e-tron FE06 and Audi RS 5 DTM

The historic race marathon caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will begin for Audi Sport on the first weekend in August with the DTM season opener, which was postponed by three months. At Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), the popular touring car series will contest its first two of 18 races in the 2020 season.

 

Power consumption, combined*: 22.7–20.6 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26–21.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Power consumption, combined*: 22.7–20.6 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26–21.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

From August 5 to 13, the brand will continue directly from the middle of the following week in Berlin (Germany). After the five rounds held so far and a five-month interruption, the 2019/2020 Formula E season for all-electric open racing cars will be concluded there with a total of six more races within nine days. On each of the following two weekends, two more DTM rounds will be held at the Lausitzring (Germany).

 

 

  Date Series Race
1 August 1 (Saturday) DTM Round 1
2 August 2 (Sunday) DTM Round 2
3 August 5 (Wednesday) Formula E Round 6
4 August 6 (Thursday) Formula E Round 7

More details

  Date Series Race
5 August 8 (Saturday) Formula E Round 8
6 August 9 (Sunday) Formula E Round 9
7 August 12 (Wednesday) Formula E Round 10
8 August 13 (Thursday) Formula E Round 11 
9 August 15 (Saturday) DTM Round 3
10 August 16 (Saturday) DTM Round 4
11 August 22 (Saturday) DTM Round 5
12 August 23 (Saturday) DTM Round 6 
Nico Müller, René Rast, Robin Frijns

THE MARATHON DRIVERS

Three Audi factory drivers will be competing in all twelve of these races in August 2020: René Rast, Robin Frijns and Nico Müller.

 

René Rast

RENÈ RAST

René Rast is the reigning DTM champion and drives for Audi Sport Team Rosberg. In his first three DTM years with Audi since 2017, he has clinched two championship titles, once finished runner-up in the standings and took a total of 17 race wins. In Formula E, Rast has only contested one race so far. In Berlin, he will now compete with the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team. His teammate is the Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, the 2016/2017 Formula E champion and one of the fans’ favourites.

Robin Frijns

ROBIN FRIJNS

Robin Frijns from the Netherlands has been driving for Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline in the DTM since 2018. In his first two years, he finished on the podium several times and only narrowly missed his first DTM victory at the Nürburgring in 2019. In Formula E, Frijns contests his fourth season in total. At Envision Virgin Racing, he is taking part in his second year in a customer car from Audi Sport. The Dutchman won two races in the 2018/2019 season.

Nico Müller

NICO MÜLLER

Nico Müller became DTM runner-up in 2019 and has won several races since his debut in 2014. The Swiss has always been racing for Audi. Last year, the driver from Audi Sport Abt Sportsline was René Rast’s toughest rival in the title fight and won the last DTM race to date in October 2019. Since the current 2019/2020 season, Müller has also been regularly competing in Formula E as part of the Geox Dragon team. Prior to this, he had already been involved as an Audi development driver for two years.

 

Nico Müller cycling

KEY FACTOR: FITNESS

In addition to a fast and reliable race car, excellent physical condition of the race drivers is crucial for success. A special challenge for Audi Sport in the upcoming race marathon: The factory drivers Rast, Frijns and Müller must switch between very different vehicles, with very different requirements, as quickly as never before.

 

Audi RS 5 DTM on the race track

Audi RS 5 DTM

Closed class 1 racing car with a carbon fibre monocoque, two-litre turbocharged engine with four cylinders (580 hp/426 kW), rear-wheel drive and semi-automatic, sequential six-speed gearbox. 0–100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, top speed around 300 km/h.

Audi e-tron FE06 on the race track

Audi e-tron FE06

Open FIA Formula E racing car with carbon fibre/aluminium monocoque, electric motor-generator unit (up to 340 PS/250 kW), rear-wheel drive and a single-speed gearbox. 0–100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, top speed 240 km/h.

“Purely in terms of driving, switching between DTM and Formula E cars will not be a big problem,” says Nico Müller. The Swiss knows all about swapping cockpits. Müller has already driven in parallel in DTM, GT endurance races, Formula E tests and even Rallycross events for Audi.

“I know everything in the DTM down to the smallest detail, while in Formula E, basically everything is new to me and my races in Berlin are therefore an absolute challenge,” says René Rast. In terms of fitness, however, the DTM title defender does not see a problem either in his familiar Audi RS 5 DTM or in the Audi e-tron FE06 that is new to him in Formula E: “I regularly trained very intensively both physically and on the race simulator at Audi Sport during the entire extended break from racing. In addition, I was also able to test the Formula E car on track.”

In the DTM car, which is about 240 hp more powerful and also produces more aerodynamic downforce, much higher centrifugal forces act on the body when accelerating, braking and in corners. In the famous Eau Rouge corner at Spa, for example, it is a force of 3.3 times your own body weight. “In addition, you have to withstand much higher temperatures in the closed cockpit of the DTM car, especially in midsummer,” explains Robin Frijns. In the Formula E racing car, it is more demanding for the arm and shoulder muscles, because power steering is not permitted, says the Dutchman.

Power consumption, combined*: 22.7–20.6 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26–21.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Power consumption, combined*: 22.7–20.6 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26–21.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Formula E season finale in Berlin makes things even more difficult: The six races are held on three different track versions. After the second and fourth race, the temporary circuit at the former Tempelhof airport in the middle of the German capital will be rebuilt. “Of course, this will bring a welcome change for us drivers, but it will require our engineers and mechanics to make additional adjustments to the cars. And we all have to react and be as flexible as possible in unexpected moments, of which there will probably be more in Berlin than usual,” says Nico Müller.

“For the drivers and their crews, these twelve races within 23 days will be very, very strenuous. But, our entire staff is also very well prepared for this,” says Dr. Vincenzo Tota, the team doctor at Audi Sport. The Italian used to be a racer himself and was particularly successful in cross country rallies. He will provide the medical care for the Audi Sport DTM teams at Spa and the Lausitzring, as well as the Formula E team in Berlin.

Audi e-tron FE06 in the garage

KEY FACTOR: PSYCHE

Mentally, the head is a very decisive factor for success or failure during the completely new permanent stress. “Whether in the DTM or Formula E teams, all of the Audi Sport employees are absolute professionals, who are experienced in dealing extremely well with the highest pressure and stress on the race track day and night,” emphasises Dr. Tota. From many years of experience in a wide variety of racing formats he knows: “The more stress the drivers are subjected to, the better their performance.” Robin Frijns adds: “In addition, Nico and I had a five-month break from racing, René even almost ten months. So, we are fully motivated and have a never-ending desire to race.”

A strong head and full concentration are especially required in Formula E, the Dutchman says. Frijns: “Because, during the race you constantly have to observe all the different software-controlled car systems and constantly readjust them on the steering wheel. Optimal energy management, that’s the core task in Formula E racing. This means: using the power supply available for the race, which is fed from the battery storage and by energy recovery during braking, as efficiently and effectively as possible over the distance.”

Another factor: homesickness. “I will probably not see my home for almost a month,” says Nico Müller. The Swiss thus mentions another psychological challenge for him and his driver colleagues Rast and Frijns during the unique twelve-race marathon. “After the last day of racing at the Lausitzring, I’m sure I feel like taking four or five weeks of holiday,” says René Rast.

Nico Müller

KEY FACTOR: COMMUNICATION

At all of the upcoming DTM and Formula E racing events, strict hygiene and quarantine rules are applied to protect against the further spread of the coronavirus. The contact of drivers and teams with competitors and the public is avoided as far as possible. “Particularly in view of Formula E’s already very tight schedule, this requires even better communication within the teams and absolute concentration on the current respective priorities,” predicts Robin Frijns. Because: “Only in this way, will it be possible to limit the error rate, which is probably higher for each of us due to the unusual continuous stress.”

René Rast

KEY FACTOR: NUTRITION

Light and easily digestible! Audi Sport supplies its DTM and Formula E teams at Spa, Berlin and the Lausitzring according to this strict motto. “During the day there, carbohydrates are on offer, proteins in the evening, or vice versa, depending on the eating habits of our colleagues, who come from all over the world,” says Dr. Tota, still leaving room for individual preferences. Also, nobody has to do without a well-deserved beer after work. “However, everyone is only allowed to enjoy this alone in their hotel room, because sitting together comfortably will not be possible for safety reasons,” says the team doctor.

Nico Müller

KEY FACTOR: RESTING

Sufficient relaxation and sufficient sleep: This is what drivers, technicians, mechanics and all of the other Audi Sport team members should definitely get during the race marathon in August 2020. “The human brain needs at least eight hours of sleep at a stretch, otherwise fatigue accumulates in the body and leads to ever greater exhaustion,” notes Dr. Vincenzo Tota.

The central means of relaxation for the Audi Sport factory drivers is autogenic training. Each one of them learned this as a young race driver and knows exactly how to “drive down” his mind himself, which is stirred up by the massive demands of a racing day. Audi Sport provides its Formula E crew with shift work during the exhausting Berlin week to give them more time and opportunity to rest. “Still, there’s one thing we won’t be able to prevent with this: Every one of us will be pretty tired after this mammoth program,” says Dr. Tota. “But the more successful we will be on the race track, the easier and better it will be to master all of the new extra challenges.”

HISTORIC RACE
MARATHON

Robin Frijns
Audi RS 5 DTM in the garage
Audi e-tron FE06 on the race track

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