Jonathan Aberdein looks set to fill the final factory seat at BMW for the 2020 DTM season, marking the end of his association with Audi.
Aberdein finished 10th in his rookie season with Audi customer team WRT in 2019, scoring 67 points compared to the 22 team-mate Pietro Fittipaldi managed and securing a best result of fourth at Assen and the Nurburgring.
He was due to remain part of the Audi in fold in 2020 as a reserve driver for both its DTM and Formula E programmes, and would likely have also replaced Robin Frijns at the Norisring DTM round due to a clash with FE.
But sources have indicated Aberdein is now likely to jump ship to BMW, taking the seat previously occupied by Bruno Spengler – who has been moved to BMW’s IMSA SportsCar Championship roster – in the manufacturer’s line-up.
A full season in the DTM would otherwise have been off the cards, as WRT decided to recruit Ed Jones and Fabio Scherer for the upcoming season.
There were no realistic opportunities in the factory line-up either, with Audi retaining its 2019 roster for another year.
It is understood that Aberdein initially committed to a deal with Audi prior to his negotiations with BMW.
Audi is not expected to pursue any legal action against the 20-year-old, despite the two parties having agreed a contract in December.
Aberdein’s move to BMW will make him the second Audi-affiliated driver to move to its rival in as many years.
In 2019, Sheldon van der Linde joined the BMW ranks having been part of the Audi’s customer racing programme, including in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup (now GT World Challenge Europe).
Once the switch to BMW is complete, Audi will be left with just two DTM drivers under the age of 30 – Frijns, who is 28, and Nico Muller, who is a year younger.
By comparison, Marco Wittmann and Timo Glock are the only drivers over the age of 30 in BMW’s trio of DTM teams.
Aberdein’s arrival will complete BMW’s line-up for the 2020 season, leaving Robert Kubica without a factory seat for the 2020 DTM season.
However, Kubica could still compete in the category this year with a customer squad subsidised by his sponsor PKN Orlen.
Published at Wed, 29 Jan 2020 12:18:05 +0000