DTM championship leader, Gary Paffett, is well-known as a veteran to the German touring car series but this weekend he takes on a new challenge as the DTM experiences its first ever night race at the Italian circuit, the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
Gary heads to Italy top of the championship standings with 177 points to his name as he holds a 29 point lead to Paul Di Resta. Gary’s fantastic 2018 campaign has seen the Mercedes-AMG driver collect three wins, four poles and seven podium finishes in the twelve races contested so far this season. Gary’s consistency across the first twelve races of the year have seen him fail to score points only twice and his strong qualifying performances have resulted in six top-three starting places, contributing 15 points to his championship total.
The previous round was another new challenge for Gary as the DTM contested around the Brands Hatch GP circuit for the first ever time. Getting up to speed quickly, Gary finished the first race of the weekend in 6th place before recording pole position for Sunday’s race which he subsequently finished in 2nd place to extend his championship lead.
Misano this weekend will bring a fresh batch of challenges with a new circuit and unknown conditions as the DTM races under the moonlight for the first time in its history. The 4.226-kilometre circuit is a modern, demanding driver circuit with different corner radii and a lot of changes of direction.
"I'm really looking forward to Misano where a very different and tough challenge faces us. It's a circuit, with which we're not yet familiar, as the DTM has never been staged there before. It's a bit like Brands Hatch, but we knew that track a bit better. We're going to have two-night races at Misano, something we've never had previously. So far, we've only practised at night. Perhaps my experience from the 24-Hours of Spa will help, but it's going to be a tough challenge.”
With confidence running high, Gary is eyeing a good haul of points in an attempt to stretch his gap at the top of the standings even further.
“I'm really looking forward to it. The car has been excellent so far this season, including last time out at Brands Hatch where the team won both races. My goal for this weekend is to secure a good haul of points and extend my lead in the championship."
The weekend commences with the first-night practice of the weekend on Friday at 20:30 (BST). Saturday and Sunday will both see qualifying sessions taking place at 19:00, with the DTM’s first ever night races getting underway at 21:30.