Paffett set for DTM return with Mercedes team

Two-time DTM champion Gary Paffett is set to make a surprise return to the series in 2021 with Mercedes' customer Mucke Motorsport.

Paffett set for DTM return with Mercedes team

The driving force behind 2005 and 2018 champion Paffett’s comeback is believed to be the Schaeffler Group, which has been a series partner of the DTM for several months and is also working with the championship on the DTM Electric project for 2023.

Schaeffler, together with Paravan, has developed a steer-by-wire system that is set to be run by the Mucke team in its Mercedes AMG GT3 this year.

Both Schaeffler and Paravan would like to have Paffett in the car, with the Mercedes ace having spent 15 consecutive seasons in the DTM and scored 23 race wins before the manufacturer's withdrawal after 2018 prompted a switch to Formula E with HWA.

Paffett’s chances of a comeback have been boosted by Schaeffler-Paravan’s appointment of former HWA man Hubert Hugle.

Hugle had been in-charge of technology at HWA for several years and also served as its DTM Development Manager, and thus worked closely with the Brit.

Paffett’s return would also sit well with DTM boss Gerhard Berger, who has already received a setback by the loss of three-time champion Rene Rast to Formula E. 

His comeback would ensure there would be at least two former champions on the grid this year, following Abt’s announcement on Friday to hire 2013 title winner Mike Rockenfeller alongside rookie Kelvin van der Linde.

Gary Paffett, DTM Hockenheim 2018

Gary Paffett, DTM Hockenheim 2018

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Steer-by-wire technology needs FIA approval

The Mercedes example Shaeffler and Paravan have been working on does not have a mechanical connection between the steering and the transmission and is strictly speaking not compliant with FIA's homologation of the Mercedes AMG GT3.

Therefore, DTM’s umbrella organisation ITR will be required to prepare an additional specification sheet and have it approved by the FIA.

However, it is understood that this shouldn’t be a hurdle, and people involved in the project are confident of implementing the steer-by-wire technology in the car.

The system is already in use in Markus Winkelhock's Audi R8 LMS GT3 and several Porsche cars in former DTM support event GTC-Race.

The joint venture between Schaeffler and Paravan is working on having the electronic steering system on two cars this year, but due to the complex implementation, it would have to supply engineers and mechanics familiar with the technology to the Mucke team.

Mucke Motorsport hasn't formally committed to the GT3 era of the DTM yet.

shares
comments
Abt signs Rockenfeller, van der Linde for 2021 DTM season

Previous article

Abt signs Rockenfeller, van der Linde for 2021 DTM season

Next article

Auer returns to DTM with Mercedes customer Winward Racing

Auer returns to DTM with Mercedes customer Winward Racing
Load comments

About this article

Series DTM
Drivers Gary Paffett
Author Sven Haidinger
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Plus

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One rule set, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race

DTM
Oct 13, 2020
How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror Plus

How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror

Opel's fortunes in the DTM had taken a turn for the worst by 2003 - hardly the pedigree that suggested it could take on the toughest 24-hour race of them all. But that's exactly what it did

DTM
Sep 23, 2020
The season that revitalised a sleeping giant Plus

The season that revitalised a sleeping giant

On the 20th anniversary of the resumption of hostilities in the DTM, Autosport revisits a classic season that brought a staple of German motorsport back to life with a bang and set in motion the careers of some notable names

DTM
May 28, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis? Plus

Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions Plus

The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions

The Opel Vectra GTS was the last in the line of the marque's DTM challengers, but failed to hit the lofty heights of its predecessors when financial constraints hit

DTM
May 15, 2020
Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers Plus

Ranking the 10 best Audi DTM drivers

Audi last week announced it would be exiting the DTM at the end of 2020, bringing the curtain down on 20 years of continuous participation since the series' reboot in 2000. Autosport's expert panel ranks its 10 best drivers from the period

DTM
May 5, 2020
How the DTM landed itself in crisis Plus

How the DTM landed itself in crisis

Audi's announcement that it will withdraw from the DTM was the latest bodyblow for a series that has lost three manufacturers in as many years. Some major soul-searching will now be required to assess how it can survive

DTM
Apr 28, 2020
The FE cynic who had to accept change in his series Plus

The FE cynic who had to accept change in his series

DTM boss Gerhard Berger was an ardent detractor of Formula E and was reluctant for his series to embrace greener engine technologies. But this cynic's tune has had to change to ensure the DTM's existence in the future of motorsport

DTM
Dec 13, 2019