First DTM race for Formula One Double World Champion Mika HÃ¤kkinen Mercedes-Benz will start with four new drivers among their eight-driver line-up in the 2005 DTM starting at Hockenheim this coming weekend. Thus four out of the eight DTM...
First DTM race for Formula One Double World Champion Mika Häkkinen
Mercedes-Benz will start with four new drivers among their eight-driver line-up in the 2005 DTM starting at Hockenheim this coming weekend. Thus four out of the eight DTM rookies this year will drive for Mercedes.
The most prominent new entry is 1998 and 1999 Formula One World Champion Mika Häkkinen (Team: Sport Edition AMG-Mercedes). His car has been designed according to the advertisements for the Sport Edition C-Class. Three and a half years after resigning from Formula One, the 36-year-old Finn will again compete in a top-class motor sports series.
The other Mercedes-Benz DTM rookies are: Jamie Green (22, Team: Salzgitter AMG-Mercedes), 2004 Formula 3 Euro Series Champion; Alexandros Margaritis (Team: Mücke Motorsport), youngest driver in the 2005 DTM at the age of 20; Bruno Spengler (21, Team: Mercedes-Benz Used Cars).
The other Mercedes-Benz drivers are: four-times Champion Bernd Schneider (40, Team: Vodafone AMG-Mercedes), Gary Paffett (24, Team: DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes), 2004 runner-up, Jean Alesi (40, Team: AMG-Mercedes) and Stefan Mücke (23). Schneider, Paffett, Alesi, Häkkinen and Green will start with a new AMG-Mercedes C-Class.
Spengler will race a last year's model, as well as Mücke and Margaritis who will be entered by Stefan's father Peter Mücke's team. Mücke Motorsport is the first private Mercedes-Benz team in the new DTM. The project will be financed by sponsors and two cars plus a parts kit required for the season are made available to the team on a leasing basis.
Facts and figures: The upcoming event is the 55th DTM race at Hockenheim since the series started in 1984, and it's the 13th race after the DTM's relaunch in 2000. Since Mercedes-Benz debuted in the DTM in 1988, the brand's drivers have won 21 out of 50 races, and nine out of 12 in the new DTM.
Gary Paffett won last year's season opener in April; Bernd Schneider won the season's last race in October. He also holds the DTM lap record on the new Grand Prix circuit with a 1:35.424.
Mika Häkkinen, prominent new entry:
"DTM is racing on a very high level. Therefore It's better to stay with my feet on the ground. There's a lot I have to learn about DTM and a lot of circuits where I have never been before. So I would be more than happy to win one or two races this year. I look forward to meeting my many fans in Germany. It's good that they can be so close to the action in DTM."
Bernd Schneider, winner of the last race:
"I want to fight for the championship and to lay the foundation for that at Hockenheim, if possible. I have trained harder than ever before to be in top shape for the start of the season, and I have done literally everything to be prepared as well as possible. To drive for Mercedes-Benz for me means to be committed to do your best. I really hope that the title will return to Mercedes at the end of the year, and I want to contribute to that significantly."
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"The 2005 DTM will be even more competitive than in previous years and I expect about a dozen combinations of drivers and cars capable of winning. Accordingly, we expect very close gaps in qualifyings and races, and the spectators at the race tracks as well as the TV viewers can look forward to thrilling sport and an exciting season. The Mercedes team wants to put the spectator at the venues in the centre of attention also besides the race track and thus entertain him excellently."