The sort of fanfare that came with Gary Paffett's new Mercedes contract this week is something that never usually surrounds a simple contract renewal in the DTM, even when the three-pointed star signs new deals with big name ex-Formula 1 stars.
But this wasn't a case of Stuttgart purely over-egging a small piece of news in the hope of grabbing a few additional headlines. This was a line being drawn in the sand as the DTM driver market prepares to burst into life like never before.
Since the beginning of 2006, Audi and Mercedes have had the DTM all to themselves. During that time, no driver has moved directly from one marque to the other. That has been partly down to a gentlemans' agreement that is effectively in place between the two manufacturers - if they don't poach from each other, there is no real market for the drivers to use to their advantage, making it much easier to control salaries.
But that is all changing now BMW is preparing to rejoin this arena for the first time since 1992. The third element of the DTM's 2012 German love triangle knows that it will need some current DTM expertise within its ranks, and since last year it has been on an aggressive recruitment push for drivers and team personnel.
Get back on track. Join today for unlimited access to all Autosport news and features.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from monthly, yearly and two-yearly packages.
Glenn Freeman is the editor of Autosport.com. After 10 years of karting, he decided that writing about motorsport would put less strain on his dad's bank balance than competing, and after obtaining his NCTJ qualifications in newspaper journalism, he joined Motorsport News in 2005.
As deputy racing editor, he covered British Formula 3 and selected international events. He also got the chance to take on boyhood hero Nigel Mansell in a kart race and beat the 1992 world champion.
Glenn left MN to become Autosport.com's international editor in September 2006 and joined the magazine's news desk in January 2008, spending six years as news editor. During that time he covered four seasons of DTM and a year of GP2/GP3, before switching to Formula Renault 3.5 from 2012-14. He became the website's editor in 2014.