Rene Rast becomes first McLaren Formula E driver

Rene Rast will replace Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren as the Woking outfit make their Formula E debut in 2023.

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Three-time DTM champion Rene Rast will return to Formula E for 2023 with McLaren, who make their debut in the series in place of Mercedes.

He made his Formula E debut in 2016 with a cameo for Team Aguri, and raced one and a half seasons at Audi in 2020-21.

However, he’s now cut ties with Audi and alongside his McLaren duties he’ll compete for BMW next year, though his calendar with the German giant has yet to be announced.

“As a racing fan, McLaren has always had huge appeal,” Rast said. “It’s an iconic name in motorsport with a rich history, so I feel privileged and proud to be able to represent McLaren in Formula E next season.

“I’ve done a season in Formula E before, it was a great experience, and I felt after that year I wasn’t done yet.

“I’m excited that I am now getting the opportunity to continue that journey. I’m extremely motivated and have no doubt we will create something great together. I can’t wait to get started!”

Rast finished Season 6 of Formula E with Audi, after Daniel Abt was dropped ahead of the Berlin season finale.

He was rewarded with a full-time drive with the team alongside Lucas di Grassi but was unable to match his champion teammate, who picked up two wins.

Rast managed just one podium and three top-five finishes on his way to 13th in the championship, but his move to McLaren is the chance for a fresh start.

“Rene has impressed over the years in the series he has competed in,” McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said.

“He is a true racer and has proven to be quick in any car he’s driven. His previous experience in Formula E will be invaluable as we head into this exciting new era of racing for McLaren Racing. I’m delighted to welcome Rene to the McLaren Racing family.”

Who will complete the team?

The second seat is still up for grabs at McLaren and there’s little indication yet of who will fill it.

Sergio Sette Camara, Oliver Turvey Max Guenther and Jake Dennis were reportedly also in the frame for the seat, and it’s thought Felix Rosenqvist was in line for the seat but is now looking to the US.

As Rast replaces Vandoorne, Nyck de Vries is looking towards F1 meaning it will likely be an all-new look for the team in 2023.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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