Robin Frijns will clock up a particularly large number of air miles this season: the Dutchman contests the DTM as an Audi works driver and at the same time tackles the Formula E electric racing series for Audi’s customer squad Envision Virgin Racing.
“I’m still young,” says the 27-year-old. “If I thought that a dual program with the DTM and Formula E wouldn’t work then I wouldn’t do it. However, I haven’t spent a lot of time in my new home in Belgium, which I moved into last year.”
With his spectacular driving style and impressive overtaking maneuvers, Frijns promptly made a name for himself in his maiden DTM season. In this respect, he has proven to be a worthy successor to Mattias Ekström in the Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline.
During his first DTM season, he climbed the podium twice. “I learned a great deal, especially what I need in the car to be fast,” says the Dutchman. “The DTM is all about the set-up details and how the car responds to changes. Everyone’s driving style differs slightly and needs something different. I first had to find my way. The second half of the season was much better.”
For this reason, Frijns tackles his second DTM season feeling full of confidence: “I simply know a lot more than I did at the beginning of 2018,” he says. “The learning curve won’t be quite as steep, even though we have a new car, a new turbo engine and more power. It’ll be very interesting and the tires will have an even tougher time than before ...”
With his dry sense of humor, Frijns was quickly welcomed into the Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline, and he also gets on famously with his teammate Nico Müller. “I have a lot of fun with the Abt guys and I feel good there. Nico and I have known each other for some years.”
The Dutchman who hails from Maastricht began his career in karting, and in single-seater racing made it all the way into Formula 1 as a test and reserve driver at Sauber and Caterham. “I had three very successful years in single-seater racing in which I was able to stand my ground against notable names and win the championship on each occasion,” explains Frijns. “As a Formula 1 test driver over the following years I had only few opportunities to contest races myself.” An offer in 2015 to race for Audi customer teams came at just the right moment. “It was a great opportunity to get into GT racing with Audi and to finally race again. Today, I’m more than happy that I took advantage of this opportunity at the time. Together, we’ve celebrated many successes.”
For two years, Frijns also competed for Michael Andretti’s team in the Formula E electric racing series. Due to BMW’s entry, the Dutchman lost his cockpit as for Frijns, Audi clearly took priority. In the Formula E simulator at Audi Sport in Neuburg, Frijns stayed fit for the groundbreaking electric racing series and did not hesitate for a moment when the chance for a comeback arose last summer.
“Obviously, we’ve thought carefully about whether such a dual commitment can work for Robin,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “The fact that there aren’t any conflicting schedules between the DTM and Formula E made the decision easier for us.”
In 2013, Frijns gained his first experiences at the wheel of an Audi DTM race car in a selection shootout of talented youngsters in Spain. “Robin left a strong impression at that time and we’ve not lost sight of him since,” says Gass.
“I’ve dreamed of the DTM for a long time,” says Frijns. “The series has a long tradition and exemplifies gripping racing – precisely what I like. When I heard that I would join Audi’s DTM squad immediately I was both overjoyed and speechless.”
Frijns will drive the number 4 car in the DTM and in Formula E. “This number has accompanied me during my successful years in single-seater racing and brought me a lot of luck. I hope it will continue to do so.”
As an Audi factory driver, he enjoys the privilege of being able to select a company car from the model range of the four rings. “I chose an Audi RS 6 Avant and I don’t want to give it back – it’s fantastic,” says Frijns. “I’m really looking forward to the new RS 6.”
In Dutch, the name Frijns is pronounced “Fraijns,” with a drawn-out “ai.” In English, most people say “Frins” with a short “i.” “For me, personally, the different pronunciations make no difference. As long as I can tell that it’s me people are addressing, I’m completely okay with either version.” However, there is one thing he does insist on: he is from the Netherlands and not Holland.