Mercedes DTM driver Gary Paffett will return to open-wheel racing in the FIA Formula E Championship after signing a deal for race for the new HWA Racelab team.

The Englishman’s move follows Mercedes’ decision to end its involvement in the German touring car championship at the end of the 2018 season. Paffett is one of a number of drivers supported by Mercedes-Benz, with the HWA Racelab team being a precursor to a full Mercedes entry into Formula E in the 2019-20 season.

“I am really excited about driving for HWA in the fifth season of Formula E,” said Paffett.

“This is basically the first time for 15 years that I will have switched series and cars. It will be a major challenge – for me, and for the team. Most of them – like me – are moving over from the DTM.

“As such, we have a lot to learn. It will certainly not be easy at first, but we are ready and are all looking forward to it.”

Gary Paffett, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Petronas C63 - 2018 DTM Red Bull Ring

Merceddes-backed Paffett is a 15-year veteran of the DTM championship and won the touring car title in 2005. He is in contention for the Drivers’ Championship title this year with the season finale at Hockenheim taking place next weekend.

The team – which will run a Venturi VFE05 powertrain co-developed by HWA – will announce the identity of Paffett’s teammate in due course.

Mercedes’ other DTM drivers – who include Pascal Wehrlein, Paul di Resta, Daniel Juncadella and Lucas Auer – are all considered to be likely candidates to be Paffett’s teammate.

2018-19 FIA Formula E Championship – Provisional Entry List (to-date)
Team Drivers
Nissan e.dams
Sébastien Buemi Alexander Albon
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Lucas di Grassi Daniel Abt
Mahindra Racing
Envision Virgin Racing Sam Bird Robin Frijns
DS Techeetah Jean-Éric Vergne André Lotterer
Dragon Racing TBA TBA
Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Mitch Evans Nelson Piquet Jr.
NIO Formula E Team
Venturi Formula E Team
Felipe Massa Edoardo Mortara
BMW i Andretti Motorsport
António Félix da Costa Alexander Sims
HWA Racelab
Gary Paffett TBA

Images via HWA AG and LAT

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.