Mercedes retains four drivers for farewell DTM season

Four drivers from Mercedes' DTM 2017 roster have been retained for the marque's final season in the category, the Stuttgart manufacturer has confirmed.

Mercedes retains four drivers for farewell DTM season
Lucas Auer, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM and Gary Paffett Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Gary Paffett, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Gary Paffett, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Lucas Auer, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Paul Di Resta, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM and Ullrich Fritz, Team principal Mercedes-AMG HWA
Lucas Auer, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Edoardo Mortara, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM
Paul Di Resta, Mercedes-AMG Team HWA, Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM

Former champions Gary Paffett and Paul di Resta will remain in the line-up, as will Lucas Auer and Edoardo Mortara.

The announcement leaves two spots on Mercedes' six-car roster unfilled, with Robert Wickens having agreed a switch to IndyCar and Maro Engel prioritising a programme in Formula E and GT racing.

“2018 will be our final year in the DTM, but that doesn't change anything as far as our readiness to take up the fight, our enormous team spirit and commitment are concerned,” Mercedes DTM boss Ulrich Fritz said.

“We intend to work together in pursuit of a common goal in order to bring a positive conclusion to the final chapter of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport's involvement in the DTM which goes back 30 years.”

Mercedes has last won the DTM drivers' and teams' titles in 2015, and has not claimed the manufacturers' honours since 2010.

Austrian racer Auer was the highest-placed of its drivers last year, claiming three of the Silver Arrows' six wins.

“This final season in the DTM will be something really special for Mercedes,” Auer said. "We're all as keen as mustard and intend to round things off in a fitting manner.

“2017 was a good year for me, and I'm really looking forward to 2018. It will be interesting to see how I progress.”

Mortara is the only driver in the roster with an existing full-time programme alongside his DTM commitments, as he also competes in Formula E for Venturi alongside Engel.

The Swiss-Italian racer emerged as one of DTM's benchmark drivers during his six-year stint at Audi, before being signed away by Mercedes for 2017.

He had a mixed first season in the category with the Stuttgart marque, finishing only 14th.

“There was a lot to learn in our first year together in the DTM," Mortara said. "We missed out on a couple of points, but ultimately, we found that we were on the right track during the last few race weekends.

“I didn't have a terrific season, so I'm really looking forward to this year when I intend to do much better.”

The 2018 DTM schedule has two clashes with Formula E, and it is yet to be confirmed which series Mortara will prioritise.

Mercedes says it will announce the two drivers that will complete its 2018 line-up “in the very near future”.

DTM 2015 champion and Sauber Formula 1 outcast Pascal Wehrlein is a prime candidate to take one of the seats, with former series regular Dani Juncadella also a favourite.

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