Mercedes driver Gary Paffett hails BMW's DTM return
|By Sam Tremayne||Thursday, January 12th 2012, 11:32 GMT|
HWA Mercedes driver Gary Paffett says that BMW's return to the DTM has lifted the series to a new level.
Speaking at the AUTOSPORT International Show, at which the C-Coupe was on display, Paffett said BMW's return also vindicated the new set of rules installed for the 2012 season, and is confident the German marque will quickly establish itself in the championship.
Among the changes, DTM bosses have introduced a spec chassis and more than 50 spec parts for the 2012 machines, meaning BMW will start on a more level playing field with Mercedes and Audi than otherwise.
"The series is very good, but now it has gone to a different level," the 2005 champion said when asked about BMW's return.
"To have the three biggest manufacturers in Germany competing in the same championship is really exciting. The new rules were built to enable the series to become stronger and to get more manufacturers - that was the goal.
"The standard components will hopefully make the racing close from the word go - it's important with BMW coming in to make sure they can compete straight away."
Paffett also said he was looking forward to seeing how fellow Briton and three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx fared in BMW's new line-up, particularly given the strength and experience of his team-mates.
"It will be interesting to see how Priaulx and [Augusto] Farfus adapt and get on," he said. "They have two incredibly tough team-mates [2011 champion Martin Tomczyk and Bruno Spengler].
"It won't take too much for BMW to get up to speed though, and they'll be looking to start strongly."