Briton’s Gary Paffett had a good start to his 2017 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters campaign at Hockenheim a fortnight ago, taking a well-deserved second place at the season’s second race, putting him level with Jamie Green in the points standings.
The Suffolk-based driver, who is competing in his 150th race at the Lausitzring this coming weekend, feels that the results he achieved at the season opener will help provide welcome motivation to a good campaign.
If you don’t score any points in the season opener at Hockenheim, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re out of the running for the championship,” said the 36-year-old, who has had his fair share of tough seasons over the past 13 years in the DTM.
“A good start to the season is therefore not imperative, but for the driver, the engineers and the team, it serves as strong motivation for the rest of the season. It puts you in a positive frame of mind, because you know that the car is fast. The points themselves aren’t everything, but they obviously help.”
Paffett is only one of two drivers, alongside Bernd Schneider, to have won three races at the Brandenburg-based circuit, and even though one of his most difficult campaigns was back in 2013, he was still able to take the win.
“It doesn’t mean a great deal to me, but it’s always nice to hold a record. So if you look back and see that there are only two drivers who have won three times on a particular track, then you think: “Wow, I can’t have been all that bad.” The Lausitzring is a track where I’ve been good even when I wasn’t doing so well elsewhere.
“It is one of those tracks that is always good for a surprise result. That’s why we will go into this race weekend fully focused and well-prepared. And I certainly wouldn’t mind if I came away as the only driver to have won four or even five races there.”
He even admitted that he would not have even imagined that his career in the DTM would have reached this particular milestone, having made his début with Team Rosberg in 2003 at the Nürburgring.
“When you’re starting out on your career, it’s really hard to imagine that you might be doing it for more than a decade of your life. 150 DTM races is really quite a lot. I am very proud of what I’ve achieved here, because you’re only around for as long as you’re putting in decent performances,” he explained, having been in the hunt for the drivers’ title most notably in 2010 and 2012, where he narrowly missed out to Bruno Spengler.
“In all these years, there are some races that stand out in my memory. For example, the Norisring in 2005 which I remember vividly. It was an incredible race. You always remember the tough races that caused you problems and in which things didn’t go according to plan. One occasion that had great sentimental significance for me was winning my home race at Brands Hatch in front of my home fans in the UK. That’s always something special. Those two races are the ones I remember most.”
Paffett will continue his DTM campaign at Lausitzring this coming weekend, with 17 other drivers also hungry for success in Brandeburg.