European Formula 3 frontrunner George Russell says he hopes to use a successful 2016 campaign as a springboard to a future in DTM.
The FIA-backed F3 series, which appears on the support bill for five rounds of the DTM series this year, has acted as gateway for numerous talents to enter the ranks of the German tin-top series.
Lucas Auer and Tom Blomqvist progressed directly to DTM seats with Mercedes and BMW in 2015 respectively off the back of their F3 success, while Pascal Wehrlein, Edoardo Mortara and Marco Wittmann have all successfully made the switch in recent years.
Russell was one of four drivers to be handed an outing by BMW in last December's rookie test at Jerez, an experience he described as "incredible".
And with budgets at GP2 level being out of reach for Russell, the British teenager says he hopes a strong sophomore campaign in F3 could open doors in DTM for 2017.
"Obviously F3 follows DTM, which is kind of what I'm aiming for next year if I have a good season," Russell told Motorsport.com.
"The test with BMW last year went very well, so I think that's my goal and go from there.
"F1 is very tough to get into and I don't have the backing behind me to get there, so DTM is my target and F3 is the best feeder for that."
Challenging Prema will be tough
Looking ahead to the new European F3 campaign, Russell conceded it was unlikely his new HitechGP team would be in a position to threaten reigning champion squad Prema from the outset.
"Prema ran away with it towards the end of last year, so that's why we've got to bring our A-game to compete with them," said the 18-year-old.
"Obviously as a new team we possibly won't be there straight away, but hopefully over time we'll get closer to their pace and be right at the front with them.
"It would be great to turn up at Paul Ricard and be straight on it, but Prema have won the championship for the past five seasons, and they've got a very good driver line-up.
"I'm sure they'll be the ones to beat and we'll be chasing after them."