After a three-year absence, the DTM and Mercedes-Benz will be returning to China as part of the 2014 race season. On the weekend of 26th to 28th September, the world’s most popular touring car series will stage a race in China for only the third time in its history.
Record DTM championship winner Bernd Schneider has already taken a first look at the planned circuit in Guangzhou. The city is situated in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, formerly known as Canton. Schneider and two-time Formula 1 champion Mika Häkkinen attended an AMG event in China yesterday evening at which the current EURONICS Mercedes AMG C-Coupé was showcased. The track is planned to be 4.1 kilometres in length and – subject to approval by national and international motor racing authorities – will feature four right-hand and two left-hand turns.
The DTM has raced on two previous occasions in China. Both of these events took place on street circuits in the city of Shanghai and were won by Mercedes-Benz driver Gary Paffett. In a special invitation race in 2004, Paffett claimed a narrow win ahead of fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Bernd Schneider. When Shanghai hosted the finale of the 2010 season, Mercedes-Benz once again emerged victorious, with a one-two podium finish for Paffett and team-mate Paul di Resta. Furthermore, second place in this race was enough to secure the 2010 DTM title for the Scotsman.
Bernd Schneider: “I think it’s great that the DTM will be returning to China next year to a new venue in the South. I had a first look at the planned circuit. It looks impressive with a combination of fast parts and slow corners and should be challenging for the drivers when they race there in 2014. From my experience racing in China has always been very special. The fans always appreciate Mercedes competing here. I think Guangzhou is the right place for the DTM to return to China.”
Mika Häkkinen: “The DTM is definitely one of the world’s premier racing series and is very much on track with the international expansion into China planned for next year, which will increase its popularity. The DTM has plenty of hungry, young talented drivers with Formula 1 potential and real characters who are well on their way to making a name for themselves internationally. My former team-mate Gary Paffett is a good example. He won the first Shanghai invitation race back in 2004 when he was still a young driver. Today, he is one of the world’s best-known touring car aces. Earlier this year in Zhuhai, along with my Hong Kong-born team-mate Matthew Solomon, I won a GT Asia race in China at the wheel of an SLS AMG GT3 and saw for myself the enthusiasm and passion of the Chinese fans. I’m sure that the Chinese motor racing enthusiasts will really enjoy seeing the DTM in Guangzhou in 2014.”
Wolfgang Schattling, Head of DTM Management: “We are delighted to have been invited back to China as part of next year’s DTM. The People’s Republic of China is the largest automobile market in the world and is extremely important for Mercedes-Benz as the single most important market for our S-Class. For this reason, we were supportive right from the start of the initiative to stage a DTM race in China. With our DTM involvement in Guangzhou, we aim to play our part in ensuring that the race in one of the largest metropolises in southern China becomes a regular fixture on the DTM calendar and an annual highlight for Chinese motorsport fans. Mercedes-Benz has won the only two DTM races so far contested in China – namely in 2004 and 2010 with Gary Paffett at the wheel – and our goal for September 2014 is obviously to make it a hat-trick.”
Source: Mercedes-Benz Motorsport