Five-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier will make a guest appearance in the penultimate round of the 2018 DTM with Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring in September.
It will be the first time that Mercedes have run a guest car, and it comes in the Stuttgart’s penultimate race weekend in the DTM before departing at the end of the season.
Audi ran a guest car for two-time champion Mattias Ekström’s final DTM race at the season opener, whilst BMW will run a guest car for Alessandro Zanardi in Misano at the end of the month.
Ogier too will get his first chance to race a Mercedes AMG C63 DTM, although the Frenchman has already sampled one of the cars, having driven in the race taxi at Zandvoort with his wife for three laps of the circuit.
“This is a very exciting experience,” said Ogier. “The DTM is something completely new for me, but I’m trying to learn as much as possible with each lap.
“I see it as an opportunity to broaden my racing horizons and gain more experience. Up to now, I haven’t driven much on permanent racetracks – only a couple of times in a GT car. A DTM car is obviously faster.
“Of course, you can’t expect to be competitive as a guest starter right away. I’m expecting a difficult first weekend at Spielberg, where my target will be to keep up with the other drivers as much as is possible.”
Ogier will not be the first multiple rally champion to try out touring car racing, with the sport’s most successful driver, Sébastien Loeb, having spent two years competing in the World Touring Car Championship.
Ogier will be given his first true taste of a DTM car at Vallelunga in Italy today (Tuesday 7 August) and on Wednesday 8 August.
“Sébastien is a real racing driver,” said Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Ulrich Fritz. “He has demonstrated his ability more times than enough all over the world on gravel and tarmac by winning five world rally championships. So it comes as no big surprise to me that he would now like to tame a DTM car.
“He will be making his DTM debut on a proper race circuit at Spielberg, and I know for sure that he and his fans will have a lot of fun as he does so.
“However, it’s also very apparent that it will be no walk in the park for Sébastien as a guest starter in such a hotly contested field. Still, that’s what drives a champion like him to put on a good show for the fans.”