McLaren junior de Vries gets Audi reserve role for New York finale
|By Alex Kalinauckas and Jack Benyon||Friday, July 6th 2018, 12:39 GMT|
McLaren Formula 1 junior and Prema Formula 2 racer Nyck de Vries will be Audi's reserve driver for the Formula E season finale in New York.
As the event is a double header and Audi still has a chance of clinching the constructors' championship, the German manufacturer has drafted in de Vries in case a problem affects regular drivers Lucas di Grassi or Daniel Abt.
DTM driver Nico Muller is Audi's official test and development driver - although he has not travelled to act the team's reserve driver during the 2017/18 campaign - but he is racing in the touring car category's Zandvoort round on the same weekend as the New York event.
De Vries and Muller drove for Audi at FE's inaugural young driver test in January.
"Audi and myself have been in touch for a little while now, they know me and I know them," de Vries told Autosport.
"They invited me, I was very grateful for that opportunity. I didn't get much running [in the Marrakech test] but still got a feel for the car.
"I [also] did some filming ahead of Zurich E-Prix, with Lucas's helmet on. Lucas wasn't available that day.
"New York is a double header and Audi still have a chance of the teams' championship.
"That's going to be an intense one as Techcheetah [current FE 2017/18 teams' standings leader] has a strong driver line-up.
"But so does Audi, it will be a tight battle between them. It is still possible and they just want to make sure that if something happens they have someone to jump in."
When asked about a possible move to race in FE for season five in 2018/19 and his prospects of moving up from F2 to F1 in the future, de Vries said: "Who knows, we are only half way through the F2 season so far so it's a bit early.
"But [FE] is certainly something to look at - it's an interesting championship which is growing very quickly with many manufacturers involved.
"At the minute my focus is still on F2 [rather than looking ahead to F1], and scoring as many points as possible in each race weekend and we will see how things develop in the future."
De Vries is currently seventh in the F2 standings for Prema and scored his first win of the 2018 season, his second campaign in the F1 support series, at the Paul Ricard round last month.
Last year, Audi motorsport boss Dieter Gass said the manufacturer would be "keeping an eye" on de Vries - a McLaren junior since 2010 - as a potential option for its future DTM line-up.