The announcement means that the Briton – a long-standing test driver with the McLaren team – is the first Mercedes driver to be confirmed for the 2012 season, when the series introduces its next generation touring car and welcomes BMW back to the fold as the third manufacturer in the championship.
The 30-year-old is the championship’s most successful active driver, with 16 race wins. Paffett won the championship in 2005, and has finished runner-up in 2004, 2008 and 2009. After a tough opening three races, he now lies ninth in this year’s championship standings.
“Gary is a vital part of our very successful history in the DTM. He is a racer in the purest form: straight and tough but always fair,” Mercedes-Benz competition boss Norbert Haug said in the statement announcing the deal.
“This new contract will take us into a second decade together, and we will work hard to ensure it will be just as successful as our first – or even better.”
Added Paffett: “I am delighted to continue my relationship with Mercedes-Benz for the long term. We have worked together for a long time, enjoyed a lot of success and I feel a big part of this successful racing family.
“Next year, the DTM will enter a new era and the competition will be even tougher. I’ m very excited to be part of this new era of the DTM and the fact that I now have a long-term contract in place gives me a solid basis on which to perform even better.”
[Image via DTM Media]
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