The 2011 DTM season starts on 1st May at the Hockenheimring. New season, new tyre partner after three successive Hockenheim victories for Mercedes. ‘Home’ circuit traditionally a happy hunting ground for Mercedes-Benz: 17 wins from 24 races since the DTM series was revived in 2000

Gary Paffett (30, England, THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class):

  • won the opening race of the 2010 season at Hockenheim
  • triumphed no fewer than three times at Hockenheim (2004, 2009, 2010)
  • DTM champion in 2005 and runner-up in 2004, 2009 and 2010

“I’ve had three wins – two of them in the last three races – at Hockenheim, so this has been a happy hunting ground for me. Winning the opening race last year was a perfect springboard for the rest of the season, and I’d like to repeat the performance this time round. After finishing runner-up in the 2010 championship, I have a clear objective for this season – to win my second DTM title. I just can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class and for the start lights to go out on the gantry.”

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Bruno Spengler (27, Canada, Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG C-Class):

  • won the 2006 season finale at Hockenheim
  • took second podium spot in the 2010 season opener (the first four places went to Mercedes-Benz drivers)
  • DTM runner-up in 2006 and 2007, third overall in 2010

“The start of the season in Hockenheim is always something special. After the long break and all the test kilometres that we’ve driven this winter, I’m very pleased that the DTM season is getting underway again. Last year, I started the season with five podium finishes in a row. It would be great if I could build on these statistics, because you have to go rather a long way back to 2006 for my last victory at Hockenheim. It’s high time I won there again.”

Ralf Schumacher (35, Germany, Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class):

  • starting his fourth DTM season
  • won the 2001 F1 German GP at Hockenheim

“We have worked hard and to good effect during the winter tests. I feel comfortable driving the Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Class and am determined to raise my level of performance this season. Hockenheim is the perfect place to start; it’s a track that I know very well, and every year there is a great atmosphere in the Mercedes-Benz grandstand and the Motodrom. This should be motivation enough for me to post a decent result in the season opener.”

David Coulthard (40, Scotland, Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Class):

  • about to embark on his second DTM season
  • raced at Hockenheim 14 times in Formula One and now for the third time in DTM

“After my DTM rookie year, I’m aiming to raise my game for Season Two. I would like to lay down a marker in the opening race at Hockenheim and take up from where I left off in the Shanghai season finale, which is where I had my first points finish. I’m already looking forward to the first race of the season and the tremendous enthusiasm of the DTM fans at Hockenheim.“

Vice-President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug:
“With the start of a new DTM season we are seeing a complete reshuffle of the pack, even if the cars are the same as they were last year. The arrival of Hankook as the new DTM tyre partner confronts the teams and drivers with new challenges; whoever masters them best will finish ahead. That Mercedes won the most races last season, secured the top three positions in the drivers’ standings and clinched the constructors’ title is now in the past, and another chapter in the long and illustrious motorsport history of the Silver Arrows.
But this weekend at Hockenheim, we all start with a clean slate. No-one has any bonus points or penalties from last season and, as I see it, around half of the drivers lining up in this year’s championship have a genuine chance of taking the title. We want to make the most of our opportunities and hopefully secure a result that is as good as the last three races we contested at Hockenheim.”

Source: Daimler AG