Ferrari enter in DTM with AF Corse team

As the series moves to GT sports cars, the team will race two Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s – the latest version of a model that has considerable racing success. Behind the wheel will be young standouts Liam Lawson, Alexander Albon and Nick Cassidy

After two seasons away from the DTM lineup, Red Bull will return to DTM in 2021, supporting a pair of Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 cars prepped by three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner AF Corse.

Since winning its debut race in 2016, the turbo-engine 488 GT3 has rocketed to status as one of the most successful models in Ferrari history, with a current overall and class tally (through January’s Gulf 12 Hours) of 355 victories, 640 podiums and 91 championships across 636 races.

Additionally, the AF Corse team has earned numerous titles in the World Endurance Championship, alongside their wins at Le Mans. Team Principal and Owner Amato Ferrari says, “This challenge started thanks to Gerhard Berger, the idea is his. In a short time, we have reached the agreement to work with Red Bull with great enthusiasm.” Ferrari continues, “We have just one ambition: victory. Considering the brands involved, all the requirements are there to aspire to be successful.”

Red Bull’s most recent DTM involvement was with two-time champion Mattias Ekström during his last years in the category. Now Liam Lawson (NZL) will run a full season in one Red Bull cockpit, while Alexander Albon (THA) and Nick Cassidy (NZL) will share driving duties in a car carrying the colors of Red Bull’s Premium fashion brand, AlphaTauri.

Lawson captured the 2019 championship in New Zealand’s open wheel Toyota Racing Series, which has seen names like Lance Stroll and Lando Norris claim titles on their way to seats in F1. After winning two races in F3 last season, the 18-year-old will run a dual program in 2021, including F2 as well as the full DTM season.

“GT racing is going to be very new to me. I am super excited for this opportunity in such a high-level series with world class drivers, and to team up with someone who has top experience like Alex,” Lawson enthuses. “I’m also super excited to drive the Ferrari.”

Born in London and racing for Thailand, Albon, 24, is a two-time podium finisher in Formula 1 who will continue with Red Bull Racing as Test and Reserve driver in addition to his new DTM role. Having raced in the 2015 F3 European Championship that ran numerous races on the DTM support package, Albon has a certain familiarity with the DTM platform.

“DTM is a great series with highly talented drivers in the field and exciting racing,” says Albon. “I’ve only driven a ‘tin top’ once back in 2015 when I was nominated for the Autosport BRDC Young Driver award, and they’re really different to single seaters. There’s a lot less downforce and the tires are very different, so it requires a different kind of driving style. It will take a bit of time to get used to, but I’m looking forward to a new racing challenge when I’m available outside of my existing F1 commitments.”

Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Cassidy is a two-time champion in the Toyota Racing Series with titles in 2012 and 2013, and he went on to claim the “triple crown” of titles in Japan – Super Formula, Super GT and All-Japan Formula 3. Now in Europe, the Kiwi is launching his maiden campaign in the Envision Virgin Racing Team and will drive for DTM subject to his Formula E commitments.

DTM’s 2021 campaign will feature eight race weekends: four in Germany and four elsewhere in Europe, including the season opener on 18-20 June at Monza, the home race weekend for AF Corse. A home race weekend for Red Bull will come at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in early September, with the traditional closer at Hockenheim on 1-3 October.