After a rather disappointing finish to last year’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season, the Mercedes-Benz team is eager to get back on track for 2013, starting with the announcement for the driver lineups for this season.
Mercedes-Benz will field a crop of six DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupe units this season, down a couple from last year’s eight C-Coupes across 4 sub-units. The six drivers are Gary Paffett, Daniel Juncadella, Roberto Merhi, Ralf Schumacher, Christian Vietoris, and Robert Wickens.
Paffett was the frontrunner for much of the 2012 season, but Bruno Spengler managed to come from behind to take the title at the final race at Hockenheim. Paffett ended up conceding the drivers’ championship by a mere 4 points.
Juncadella’s entry into DTM was expected after the 21-year old Spaniard claimed the Formula 3 Euro Series title. Merhi and Wickens are in their second seasons, while Vietoris is in his third year in DTM. Former F1 veteran Schumacher has been in DTM since 2008.
Juncadella joins Merhi, Vietoris, and Wickens in the Mercedes-Benz DTM junior team, which was established last year. The junior team will be mentored by Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver Nico Rosberg.
Mercedes-Benz will be banking on this blend of young talent along with the experience of Paffett and Schumacher to stake its claim in DTM this year. We’ll see if fielding fewer cars will indeed pay off for the team.