Nine-time FIA World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb will make his DTM debut at the Portimao season-opener driving for Ferrari squad Red Bull AlphaTauri AF Corse.
Off-road star Loeb has been named as Nick Cassidy’s replacement for the round in Portugal on April 29-May 1, which Cassidy cannot make due to a Formula E clash.
Loeb recently tested the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 at Spa-Francorchamps ahead of his first race appearance in a GT3 car since the 2013 FIA GT Series.
As a replacement driver, the 48-year-old will be eligible to score DTM championship points.
“Having the most successful rally driver of all times with us in our season opener at Portimao is a genuine highlight that fans can look forward to,” commented ITR boss Gerhard Berger.
“The achievements in his career speak for themselves, but nevertheless, it will be a hard competition against very strong drivers, for Sébastien Loeb as well.
“Standing in for Nick Cassidy, he will be fighting for points with the AlphaTauri Ferrari, so therefore I am certain that a champion of his stature will be highly motivated coming to the race track.”
In addition to his FIA GT Series campaign nine years ago in a McLaren MP4-12C GT3, Loeb’s circuit racing experience includes finishing second at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2006 and taking part in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
“Throughout my career, I have always liked to change between disciplines,” he said.
“DTM is a famous championship and as the opportunity came up for me to compete in it, I took it, of course. It is an exciting challenge because the driving style is entirely different.
“Now, it is time to work. I will be up against specialists in such racers and my last proper GT3 race already is a long time ago.
“My goal will be to find my rhythm as well as I can and I will try to use my experience to give the team good feedback about the set-up of the car.
“I know that it will be difficult but the cars really are fun to drive. Really fast, nice cars. Therefore, I am looking forward to it,”
Loeb, who is a Red Bull athlete, will share the AF Corse garage at Portimao with full-season driver Felipe Fraga.
Cassidy, meanwhile, is set to contest six of the eight rounds, with the Norisring fixture in July also clashing with the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.