Paffett has made Formula E interest clear to Mercedes
DTM star Gary Paffett says he “made it clear” to Mercedes he was interested in Formula E as soon as his employer announced it would enter the series.
Paffett has raced for the German manufacturer in the DTM since 2003 and dovetailed that with Formula 1 simulator and testing roles for the McLaren and Williams teams.
The Briton will need a new full-time programme once Mercedes withdraws from the DTM at the end of this year ahead of its move into FE for the 2019/20 season.
He sampled an FE car for the first time in Marrakesh last Sunday when he tested for Venturi, which has an engineering partnership with Mercedes DTM specialist HWA.
“When Mercedes announced it was coming into Formula E I made it clear to them and HWA I would like to see if it’s a route possible for me, and [that it's] something I want to do,” he told Motorsport.com.
“They’ve known from the outset it’s something I want to do. DTM is coming to an end and I’m still looking to get something that’s more full-time and Formula E could be it.
“It’s been really good for me coming here, Venturi and I have benefitted.
“Mercedes is coming into the series, I’ve been a Mercedes driver forever and certainly something I’d like to do is move in with Mercedes if at all possible.”
Paffett said the FE test was “enough for me to get a feel of the car” and was happy to help Venturi “get a big list of stuff done”.
He finished 11th-fastest after a late full-power run but did not focus on a proper qualifying simulation.
Paffett has already expressed interest in contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours and Australian Supercars series after the DTM, and may add more GT races to his 2018 schedule.
The 36-year-old made his GT debut in 2016, in the Spa 24 Hours, his first race outside the DTM since the 2003 Formula 3000 opener at Imola.
“The DTM schedule is intense but it’s just 10 race weekends,” he said.
“For years I was working with McLaren, doing 50-60 days in the simulator for them. The last two years I’ve done work for Williams on the simulator and also testing.
“I did Spa in 2016, I felt I wanted to have a go at endurance and GTs especially, and I really enjoyed it. I’m very keen to do some more but I don’t want to move to GTs full-time.
“It’s certainly something I’d like to do alongside another project – like doing DTM this year, I might try and fit in another GT race or two.”
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