This weekend marks both the final race weekend of an enthralling 2018 Championship title battle for Gary Paffett, but also a fifteen-year career in the series for Paffett and 30 years of the DTM Racing for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport.
Going into the season finale at Hockenheim this weekend, Gary Paffett lies only four points behind teammate and championship leader Paul Di Resta and is extremely keen to overturn the deficit in his last race in DTM, before joining HWA RACELAB in Formula E.
Gary heads to Hockenheim following a mixed weekend in Austria where the Fitbit-sponsored driver secured a 10th place finish in the first race of the weekend before a crucial 3rd place finish in the second race at the Red Bull Ring. With Di Resta leading Gary by just four points with 56 points still left on offer, the scene is set for a nail-biting finish to the DTM season for all spectators and followers this weekend at Hockenheim.
After an incredibly consistent season, it would only be fitting for the Mercedes driver to overturn the deficit and secure the Championship, proving the perfect send-off for the British driver in both his last DTM race and his Mercedes-AMG Motorsport team after an illustrious 30-year spell in the series.
Gary will hope his excellent record at the 4.57km Hockenheimring will give him the edge over teammate and Championship rival Di Resta as no current fellow Mercedes-AMG driver boasts more wins the Paffett at the Hockenheim track.
“Hockenheim is a circuit that we know really well, a circuit that our car goes well on, and a circuit that I have already won at this year. So, I am very confident that I can go there and be strong, and that I have a very good chance of winning the championship."
Paffett’s excellent record at Hockenheim includes 5 wins, most recently as earlier on in the season. The Thunderhead-sponsored driver, also recorded the fastest lap time of 1:34.069 at the Hockenheimring earlier on in the season, as well as recording double the amount of podiums at Hockenheimring in comparison to title rival Di Resta.
"I'm really looking forward to the upcoming race weekend, although I obviously have mixed feelings, as it's the last race weekend of the season, which is always a strange feeling, but mostly because it's the last race weekend for Mercedes in the DTM, which also ends my 15 years with Mercedes in the series. It's a massive weekend for everybody, and it will be very emotional come Sunday when the chequered flag falls. Obviously, there is the championship battle going on. I'm firmly in the fight for the championship with Paul and also René.”
Gary will hope to add to his outstanding record from this season which includes 3 wins, 5 poles, 4 fastest laps and 9 podiums - with the most poles, fastest laps and podiums of any driver this season.
“There is nothing to separate me and Paul, and based on recent performances, I think it is going to be a close fight between us. The most important thing going into the weekend is that we try and get the championship for Mercedes. Hopefully, I am the one that can come out on top on Sunday. It's going to be an intense weekend for everyone in the team, including myself, but I am really looking forward to it”
Track action in Germany gets underway on Friday 12th October, with Free Practice 1 beginning at 14:45 (BST). Saturday’s action gets underway at 08:00, with Free Practice 2, followed by Qualifying 1 at 09:55, with the first race of the weekend getting underway at 12:30. Sunday then sees Qualifying 2 starting at 10:10, followed by the final race of the season at 12:30.