René Rast had a senstational debut with a factory LMP1 race car at Le Mans 24 Hours. The Audi GT ace was impressive all weekend long at La Sarthe behind the wheel of the Audi Sport Team Joest run #9 R18 e-tron quattro.
We recently had a chat with René Rast about his Le Mans race and expectations for the upcoming challenges.
How emotional was it to compete with Audi in Le Mans 24 Hours with the works Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1?
It was for sure a very special Moment. To be in Le Mans on such a historical track with one of the best manufacturers in motorsport was a big honor and a big pleasure. A dream came true because this was the moment I worked for almost my whole Life.
Tell us more about your Le Mans race weekend.
The Le Mans weekend was a very intense but also fast going week. Press and media activities, practice and qualifying sessions before the race kept us busy. The race itself was a good one till the morning session at around 8-9 o´clock when we had some technical issues with our Hybrid system. During the night we had some leading laps which was obviously very nice, but the Porsche was just a bit faster during the night. In the end my Team Mates and me very happy because neither of us did a mistake and also the Team did a great job.
This year you joined Audi's full factory LMP1 effort, how different is working with Audi Sport compared to Audi Sport customer racing?
Working with Audi Sport is definitely different because you work with many more people which is not easy when you get new into this program. But after a while I got used to so many new faces and you learn how to deal with it. The working itself is with both Audi Sport customer racing and Audi Sport very professional on a high level.
How different is the new Audi R8 LMS compared to the all conquering Audi R8 LMS ultra?
You can feel straight away jumping in the new R8 that the Audi engineers put some serious effort into this car to make it better. For us drivers the Interior handling and also the driver comfort is much better. Also driving the car feels better, even more like a race car than the previous one. But it is still a new car, even though they won the 24h Nürburgring, we still need to fine-tune the car especially with the Pirelli Tires.
The next big target for Audi will be the Spa 24 Hours, what are your expections in the Belgian classic?
After winning it last year the ultimate goal is to win it again ;) it will be difficult, the competition is high but we have a strong car, team and lineup. As always we try to avoid high risks during the race and do our normal routine.
What do you think about the new Audi Sport TT Cup?
I think it's a good platform for young drivers to get a food into motorsport. Here they can show how good they are with equal material and also learn how to race each other. Also being in the Audi family is something the drivers can look up to, because there is more to come after the TT Cup, like the GT3 Program or DTM / LMP1.
Photo credit:Audi Media