With the launch of the 2011 DTM season just days away, Mercedes-Benz has finalised its driver line-up for the 2011 championship season by announcing the re-signing of Gary Paffett, David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher.
Briton Paffett will enter his eighth season of competition on Germany’s premier tin-top series, and the 30-year-old will be looking to add another championship title to his name after taking his maiden title in 2005.
His appointment in the 2009-spec AMG Mercedes C-Class also sees the arrival of a new title sponsor on his car, with famous jeweller Thomas Sabo adding its logos to his predominantly black car (pictured).
Meanwhile, former Formula 1 race winners Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard will also remain in the DTM championship for another season.
It will be Schumacher’s fourth season in the championship, and the 35-year-old will be hoping for a better year – where he will be joined by new sponsor Salzgitter – after an often-trying 2010 campaign that saw him net just a single points’ finish.
“After three years in the DTM and two seasons with the HWA team, I feel at ease in the AMG Mercedes C-Class and I’m ready, together with my new sponsor Salzgitter, to make the next move in my fourth DTM season,” said the six-time Grand Prix winner.
Coulthard’s re-signing is rather more of a surprise given his full-time promotion to the BBC F1 commentary box alongside Martin Brundle as the ‘colour commentator’ in the network’s global feed. Fortunately, the DTM championship doesn’t clash with any of his F1 commitments, which will allow the 40-year-old Scot to dovetail with more racing.
“I’m very pleased to be contesting the DTM series once more in 2011 for Mercedes-Benz. My year of apprenticeship is over – now I’m looking to make some real progress,” he is quoted as saying.
“I learnt a lot last year, and have laid good foundations for my second season. After gaining my first DTM point at the final race of the season in Shanghai in 2010, I would like to make my fans happier this season by scoring points more often.”