Esteban Ocon confirmed as Mercedes announces 2016 DTM line-up

GP3 champion Esteban Ocon will join an otherwise unchanged Mercedes line-up in the DTM this year, the manufacturer has confirmed

Esteban Ocon confirmed as Mercedes announces 2016 DTM line-up

Ocon, a Mercedes junior, will combine racing in the series with his role as the reserve driver for Renault's Formula 1 team.

The move, as predicted by Autosport, comes after confirmation on Wednesday that reigning DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein will switch to F1 with Manor Racing.

Ocon has tested Mercedes DTM machinery on a number of occasions, and as its 2015 reserve took part in free practice for last year's finale at Hockenheim, when Daniel Juncadella was ill.

"It's an incredible feeling to be part of such a professional and strong racing series," the 19-year-old said.

"After driving in free practice during the final race weekend of the 2015 season at Hockenheim, I can't wait to start a DTM race.

"I obviously have a lot to learn, but my goal - and that of everyone in the team - is to fight for wins as soon as possible."

While Mercedes is yet to formally pair drivers with its teams, it retains Juncadella, Paul di Resta, Gary Paffett, Robert Wickens, Christian Vietoris, Maximilian Gotz and Lucas Auer from 2015.

The factory HWA squad will continue to run four cars, with Mucke Motorsport and ART Grand Prix fielding two each, with driver allocations due within the next week.

The first pre-season test at Monteblanco in Spain on February 23-25 will mark the debut of Mercedes' new-look AMG C 63 Coupe.

"We're aiming for stability in the team after a successful 2015," Mercedes DTM boss Ulrich Fritz said.

"Esteban Ocon has learned a lot as our test and reserve driver and is ready for his rookie season in the DTM.

"Esteban proved his talent last year by winning the GP3 Series title.

"Of course, he still has much to learn, but with his seven team-mates, he can draw on the combined experience of 31 DTM seasons.

"When you start the season as defending champions, it's hard to have any other goal than winning the championship.

"But everyone knows just how competitive the DTM is and it won't be an easy task."

2016 DTM LINE-UP

AUDI
Team Abt: Mattias Ekstrom, Edoardo Mortara, Miguel Molina, Nico Muller
Team Phoenix: Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Scheider
Team Rosberg: Jamie Green, Adrien Tambay

BMW
Team RMG: Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock
Team MTEK: Bruno Spengler, Augusto Farfus
Team RBM: Tom Blomqvist, Maxime Martin
Team Schnitzer: Antonio Felix da Costa, Martin Tomczyk

MERCEDES (TEAMS TO BE CONFIRMED)
Lucas Auer, Paul di Resta, Maximilian Gotz, Daniel Juncadella, Esteban Ocon, Gary Paffett, Christian Vietoris, Robert Wickens

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Renault F1 reserve Esteban Ocon poised for 2016 Mercedes DTM seat

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