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McLaren DTM driver Schmid undergoes surgery before season opener

Dorr McLaren driver Clemens Schmid has had to undergo surgery on his appendix ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the 2024 DTM season at Oschersleben.

Clemens Schmid, Dörr Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 Evo

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

While competing in a private test at the same venue last Thursday, Schmid reported physical discomfort and made a trip to hospital late in the day, where it was discovered that the pain was caused by his appendix.

In a post on Instagram, Schmid posted a video with the caption "I'm trying to copy Carlos Sainz”, referring to the Ferrari driver who missed the second round of the Formula 1 season in Saudi Arabia last month due to his own appendicitis. Sainz later went on to win the Australian Grand Prix, the first race of his comeback.

Speaking to Autosport’s sister website Motorsport-Total.com, Schmid confirmed that he is getting an operation, but was optimistic of competing in the first two races of 2024 in Germany on 26-28 April.

"I'm having an operation,” he said. “According to the doctors, the start in Oschersleben should work if the operation goes smoothly."

Schmid’s absence from the opening round would be a bitter blow for the Dorr team, which is new to the DTM this year after inking a deal with McLaren to run a pair of 720S GT3 EVOs in the category.

The team’s second driver Ben Dorr is only 19 years old and a relative newcomer to GT3 racing, thus Schmid’s vast sportscar experience - albeit in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 - is crucial to help the team hit the ground running this weekend.

Asked if the squad has had any alternative plans in case Schmid is not declared fit by the start of practice on Friday, team manager Robin Dorr told Motorsport-Total.com: “We haven’t given it any thought at the moment.

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

"We'll just wait for the operation and keep our feet still until we know how he's doing.

“We keep our fingers crossed for Clemens and expect him to be at the start at our DTM premiere.”

Schmid had previously set the Dorr team’s best time in the official Hockenheim test, which preceded last week’s private running at Oschersleben. His effort of 1m38.038s was just under a second slower than Rene Rast’s chart-topping time of 1m37.077s in the Schubert BMW M4 GT3.

This year marks the first time McLaren is represented in the DTM for a full season, with a 720S GT3 previously featuring on the grid for only three select rounds in 2021 as part of a partial entry from JP Motorsport.

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