Biography

Biography

Gary Paffett first developed his passion for motorsport watching his father, Jim, compete in club racing. After being given a Cadet kart for Christmas, Paffett Junior took to the track at the age of 9.

Success soon followed and his natural talent was spotted by multiple World Karting Champion Martin Hines, who selected Gary for his Zip Young Guns team. Together they won multiple British karting titles and Hines continued to support Paffett through his rise to single seaters, where he clinched four titles in five years.

Following his success, Gary won the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award in 1999. Part of his prize was a Formula One test for McLaren in December 2000 where Paffett clearly impressed, as he has continued to test for McLaren every year since.

After winning the British Formula 3 Scholarship Class in 2000, Paffett made the move to German Formula 3 with Team Rosberg for the 2001 season. Just one year later Gary dominated the championship, sealing seven victories on his way to clinching the spoils.

The future looked bright with an F3000 drive lined-up with new team Brand Motorsport in 2003, but the team hit financial difficulties after the first race. Mercedes took the opportunity to approach Paffett for DTM and signed him with Team Rosberg.

After some strong performances in his debut season, Paffett was promoted to a full works drive with AMG-Mercedes in 2004 where he narrowly missed out on the championship crown, despite taking five wins.

2005 saw Gary win the DTM title with a total of 5 wins during the season, and in the December of 2005, he was signed as a full-time test driver for the McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team. Gary spent 2006 concentrating on his role as a test driver for F1 team McLaren Mercedes but he missed the thrill of competing so 2007 saw him back in the DTM driving seat but this time with Persson Motorsport. He remained with the team for 2008 and took 9th place in the championship.

For 2009 Gary was promoted back into the Works HWA team and raced the AMG Mercedes C-Klasse for team Salzgitter AMG Mercedes and took 2nd place in the championship. The battle for the 2010 title went right down to the wire and ended with Gary taking 2nd place, just 4 points behind the Champion Paul Di Resta.

2011 saw Gary face his most challenging year in DTM. Four strong top-five finishes were unfortunately coupled with a number of set up problems with the car throughout the season which saw Gary end the season seventh in the Championship.

In 2012 the DTM underwent a massive change in regulations and Gary once again racing for the Mercedes AMG Thomas Sabo team, was strong from the start. Winning 2 of the first 4 races and finishing on the podium in the other 2 he quickly built up a lead in the championship. Unfortunately losing podium finishes at 2 races due to incidents and a lack of pace at the Valencia race Gary went into the final race just 3 points ahead of rival Bruno Spengler. After what was an incredibly close race Gary finished 2nd to Spengler missing out on the championship by just 4 points.

2013 was a mixed season for Gary. He reached a special milestone and made his 100th DTM career start at Oschersleben as well as securing his 20th win at Lausitzring a few races earlier. This victory has made him the third most successful DTM driver in history and most successful on the current grid. Unfortunately, an under powered car and lack of consistency within the team meant Gary finished the season sixth overall. He also continued his test duties for the Vodafone McLaren F1 team, mainly in the simulator but did have the opportunity to take part in the Young Drivers Test earlier in the year.

At the end of 2014 and after many years as a test and development driver, Paffett parted ways with McLaren, as the F1 team switched to Honda engines for the 2015 F1 season. Gary also changed teams in DTM, making the switch to DTM new-boys ART Grand Prix for the 2015 season where he enjoyed three podium finishes, ending the season ninth in the Drivers Standings.

In the 2016 season, Gary made a switch across the paddock to compete for the esteemed Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM team whilst also enjoying being a test driver for the Williams F1 team.

2017 was Gary's 14th season in the DTM and it started on a high-note as Gary reached the podium on the opening weekend of the season at Hockenheim. Gary's consistency in the series saw him finish in the points in the opening seven races of the season - a tough ask in one of the most competitive series in the world. Gary's services were also called upon by Williams F1 team as their simulator driver in early 2016 and 2018 saw him even complete a test in Bahrain where he drove over 120 laps in over 40-degree heat. This season also marked Gary's 150th race in the DTM, making him the 10th most experienced driver in the series' 34-year history. 

2018 marked Gary's and Mercedes' final season in the DTM as the manufacturer departs the series. The season proved to be a fitting farwell for the DTM legend, as Gary secured his second DTM Championship in dramatic fashion at the last race of the season in Hockenhiem. A total of 3 wins and 10 podiums, as well as scoring points in all but three of the 20 races, guided Gary to the Championship. Gary also performed the best out of any driver in qualifying this year with five pole positions and nine starts from the front row of the grid. After making his DTM debut back in the 2003 season, Gary has now completed a phenomenal 15 seasons for Mercedes, since first joing the DTM, and so, has been in the cockpit of a DTM car with the three-pointed star for half of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport's 30 years in the DTM. During this time, he has secured 17 pole positions, 24 wins and 48 podiums - alongside his two championship titles and his four finishes as vice-champion. 

The 2019 season will represent a new challange for Gary which will see him take on a new series for the first time in fifteen years. It was announced that Gary will be competing in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, where he will spearhead the HWA RACELAB team.