Mercedes-Benz gave five talented drivers an opportunity to gain experience of the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé during testing near the Spanish town of Jerez de la Frontera from December 2nd – 4th.
This test for Felix Rosenqvist (23, Sweden), Esteban Ocon (18, France) and Lucas Auer (20, Austria) was to reward them for outstanding achievements in Formula 3. All three drivers achieved success with the new Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine this season.
Felix Rosenqvist won the prestigious Macau Grand Prix in mid-November. Previous winners before him include racing legends Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Esteban Ocon secured this year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship with nine wins and 21 podiums. Austrian Lucas Auer won three Formula 3 races and finished the season fourth overall.
Maximilian Götz (28, Germany) won the Blancpain Sprint Series title in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 before season’s end this year. For Götz, this was not his first ever contact with a DTM car. In mid-September last year, he tested a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Class at the Lausitzring as a reward for his success with the gullwing.
Charles Pic (24, France) was also in Jerez, trying out the DTM Mercedes AMG C‑Coupé. The Frenchman contested a total of 39 Formula 1 races for Marussia and Caterham during 2012 and 2013 and acted as official test and reserve driver this season for the Lotus F1 team. He was busy last week in that role at the final Formula 1 testing of the year at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, as was Ocon.
Mercedes-Benz has a long tradition of bringing on junior drivers in motor racing. During their time in Formula 3, many drivers, including Formula 1 2014 world champion Lewis Hamilton (MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS), four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and the youngest race winner in DTM history, Pascal Wehrlein, all utilised Mercedes-Benz engines.
Lucas Auer: “I want to thank Mercedes-Benz for giving me the chance to do this test. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I immediately felt at ease in the car and was able to steadily improve during my runs. The DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé is a super racing car. It has a lot of grip and speed. I found it a terrific experience.”
Maximilian Götz: “I’d like to say a big thank you to Mercedes-Benz for giving me the opportunity to test the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé here in Jerez. I was very pleased to be invited. Being allowed to drive the car during the closed season was really great. I’ve always dreamed of one day testing the new DTM car. It was very enjoyable taking it for a spin in the pleasant temperatures we’ve had here in Jerez. I’ve completed quite a few laps and was able to experiment with some of the settings on the car. I hope that I gave a good account of myself.”
Esteban Ocon: “First of all, I want to thank Mercedes-Benz for this opportunity to test the car. I enjoyed it and had no problems. The team did a great job. Adapting to the car is quite difficult. You can’t see much out of it when compared to a single-seater. It was my first time out in a racing car with a roof, so I’m quite happy with my progress during the course of the morning and hope to take it out again one day soon.”
Charles Pic: “I really liked my first day in a DTM car. This was my first time out in a racing car with a roof here in Jerez de la Frontera, so there was a lot to learn. I found visibility a bit unfamiliar to begin with on my initial laps, and the feeling when braking was very different to what I’m used, but it was a lot of fun. Many thanks to Mercedes-Benz for making this test possible.”
Felix Rosenqvist: “The day started for me with my first experience of driving the new DTM car. I drove the old model last year, but it was a little bit more difficult than I thought to adapt to the new car and find the right style of driving. However, something had really clicked inside me by the end of the day, and I was quick. You always want to have more driving time, but ultimately, I felt quite good and competitive. It was really nice to get the opportunity to do this test after a Formula 3 season which I found quite tough, but after my result in Macau a few weeks ago, HWA decided to make this test possible and I’m really thankful. We go back a long way, so it’s nice to now do something together. It was great fun.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “It was wonderful to see so many young and talented racing drivers gaining experience in our DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. Charles, Esteban Felix, Lucas and Maximilian did a good job. The brand with the three pointed star has for decades enjoyed great success in bringing on young drivers in motor racing, and during that time, many of them have successfully moved up into Formula 1 or to the DTM. Pascal Wehrlein is the most recent example of what I’m talking about. He won his first DTM race this year and was also named as official reserve driver to our Silver Arrows Formula 1 team, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS.”
Source: Mercedes-Benz Motorsport