Mercedes-AMG Motorsport has confirmed that it will retain Gary Paffett, Paul di Resta, Lucas Auer and Edoardo Mortara in its DTM squad for its swansong season in the series in 2018.
Paffett, who has been with the team since his DTM début in 2003, will be embarking on his 15th season in the tin-top category.
The Brit is already one of the series’ most successful names, with 20 DTM race victories to his name, putting him fourth overall in the all-time winners list.
“This will be my 15th DTM season with Mercedes-AMG, but unfortunately, the last for Mercedes in this series,” said Paffett. “Preparations are well underway for 2018. We worked hard with the engineers during the winter and the team put in the same amount of effort as ever. They are really focused, and we aim to round off the season with a successful result.”
2010 champion Di Resta is embarking upon his ninth DTM season and his fifth since returning from a three-year stint in Formula One.
“Fresh challenges, fresh opportunities. I’m really excited about the new season,” said Di Resta. “It’s a little bit sad to think that this will be the end of an era for Mercedes in the DTM, but everyone in the team is showing that little bit of extra commitment, keen to end this final chapter on a positive note.
“I’ve been a part of things for four years now and really love the brand, so I hope that my fellow team members and I can deliver the best possible results this year.”
Austrian racer Lucas Auer had another strong season in 2017 as he bagged three pole positions and three race wins to end the year as the best-ranked Mercedes racer.
“This final season in the DTM will be something really special for Mercedes,” said Auer. “We’re all as keen as mustard and intend to round things off in a fitting manner.
“2017 was a good year for me, and I’m really looking forward to 2018. It will be interesting to see how I progress. Everyone who knows me is well aware that I like to drive anything on four wheels during the off-season, but I’m now ready for the first tests and the new season.”
Edoardo Mortara is the team’s newest signing, having only joined the Stuttgart marque from Audi at the start of 2017. The Italian is hoping to improve markedly on his last season, where like Paffett he failed to take a race victory.
“There was a lot to learn in our first year together in the DTM,” added Mortara. “We missed out on a couple of points, but ultimately, we found that we were on the right track during the last few race weekends.
“I didn’t have a terrific season, so I’m really looking forward to this year when I intend to do much better. Also, there are new rules in place, and we’ll all be starting again from scratch. I hope that we can have a successful season.”
Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Ulrich Fritz insisted that the team will remain focused in the coming year, despite knowing that it will be their last in the touring car championship.
“2018 will be our final year in the DTM, but that doesn’t change anything as far as our readiness to take up the fight, our enormous team spirit and commitment are concerned. Every single member of our team, the drivers, the mechanics, the engineers and our hospitality crew are all highly motivated.
“We intend to work together in pursuit of a common goal in order to bring a positive conclusion to the final chapter of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s involvement in the DTM which goes back 30 years.”