Perfect end to 30 years of the DTM as Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS) is crowned DTM champion for the second time since 2005 in the 436th and final DTM race for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport. The British driver took third place in the brand’s home race at Hockenheim, the very last round of the season, beating off stiff competition from Audi driver René Rast, who won the fixture. Gary’s third place, giving him his tenth podium finish of the season, his 13th at Hockenheim and the 48th of his DTM career, was enough to win the championship with a four-point lead.
Gary has had a very consistent season, in which he not only won three races but also secured ten podiums, scoring points in all but three of the 20 races. He was also the best in qualifying this year with five pole positions and eight starts from the front row of the grid.
Gary made his DTM debut in the 2003 season, driving an AMG-Mercedes CLK DTM. He has completed 15 seasons for the brand since first joining the DTM, and so, has been in the cockpit of a DTM car with the three-pointed star for half of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s 30 years in the DTM. During this time, he has secured 17 pole positions, 24 wins and 48 podiums.
Edoardo Mortara (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport) finished the final race of the season in 13th position. Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS) had a narrow lead on Gary in the championship before this final race weekend of the season, thus keeping his title hopes alive until the final race which he finished outside of the points in 14th place. In the drivers’ standings, he ended his ninth DTM season in third place overall.
Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS), Lucas Auer (SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport) and Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS) crossed the finish line 15th, 16th and 18th respectively.
Bowing out of the DTM: The 2018 season
In early May, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport embarked on its 2018 special anniversary season with the first of ten meetings, taking a win in the first race at the Hockenheim season opener. Contesting their home fixture today at the same venue, the team brought the final chapter in their 30-year history in the DTM to a close with a suitable end to a superb season.
- The Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM won 9 of this season’s 20 races (more than any of the other two manufacturers), including 5 one-two wins; the team even managed to bring four cars home in the Top Four in the first race at Zandvoort
- Four of the six drivers – Gary Paffett (3 wins), Paul Di Resta (3 wins), Edoardo Mortara (2 wins) and Daniel Juncadella (1 win) – finished on the top rung of the podium. Daniel Juncadella took his maiden win in the DTM at Brands Hatch.
- During the season, 14 of the 20 pole positions went to a Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM driver, and members of the squad locked out the front row seven times
- During the period from the first race at the Hungaroring to the first ever night race in DTM history at Misano, a Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM took pole position nine times in a row – a new DTM record
- Gary Paffett was the best at qualifying this season with 5 pole positions. Daniel Juncadella (3 poles), Lucas Auer (3 poles), Paul Di Resta (2 poles) and Edoardo Mortara (1 pole) all started out from pole position at least once this year.
- The Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM also heads the table for fastest race laps: A Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM driver posted the fastest lap 12 times in 20 of this season’s races. Gary Paffett and Daniel Juncadella (4 each) jointly achieved the most fastest laps
- Of this season’s 60 podium places, 28 went to one of the team’s drivers this season (almost as many as the two other manufacturers put together). Gary Paffett also leads the rankings as far as the most podiums are concerned, having achieved ten in total. All of the team’s six drivers finished on the podium at least once this season.
- Mercedes-AMG won the constructors’ championship at the penultimate race weekend of the year in Spielberg. Ultimately, by the end of the season, the brand with the three-pointed star had notched up 903 points to BMW’s 623 and Audi’s 599.
- The team championship also went to Stuttgart and Affalterbach in their swan-song season: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS (363 points) won the team title from Mercedes-AMG Motorsport REMUS (P2, 294 points) and SILBERPFEIL Energy Mercedes-AMG Motorsport (P4, 261 points).
Gary Paffett (37, England): “It’s absolutely incredible. This is the best day in my life. The first title in 2005 came along so soon. I’ve spent the last 13 years working to get back to the top. It’s taken a long time, but this year, the team gave me a great car. I’ve always enjoyed driving it in qualifying. I still can’t quite believe it. I was out there on my own for most of the race and had plenty of time to think about the situation. Towards the end, I was thinking to myself ‘Now there are only five laps to go in my DTM career’ and then ‘only 4, 3, 2, 1…’. At one point, I almost spun off because of that. But it’s a fantastic feeling to have won the title. I’ve had such a great time with this team. Many thanks to every single member of the team for all the hard work they’ve put into the car. Anyway, we’ve done it now!”
Edoardo Mortara (31, Italy): “It was a difficult and also rather strange race for me. I started from sixth place and got off to a good start. I immediately passed Augusto Farfus and was then able to overtake Bruno Spengler. My pace was good in the first stint. I was following the Top Three and looking after my tyres. My pit stop was OK, but I don’t understand what happened in the second stint. The tyres simply packed in. The difference in grip was huge, and I no longer had any pace, so I was unable to get any more out of the car. But anyway, I’m happy for Gary. This title is important to everyone in the team.”
Paul Di Resta (32, Scotland): “Unfortunately, that was a disappointing end to the season for me. When you’re in the lead overall ahead of the final round, then you also obviously want to finish the season as champion. It was not meant to be, unfortunately. It was simply not my weekend. Many congratulations to Gary on winning his second DTM title. At least we achieved our goal as a team, the champion is a Mercedes driver. Many thanks to the guys for all their hard work this season. They absolutely deserved to win the treble.”
Daniel Juncadella (26, Spain): “There’s not a lot to be said about the race, really. It’s far more important to congratulate Gary on his second title win. I am very happy for him that it worked out OK in the end. After the recent strong performances from René Rast, we were all getting a bit concerned. But now he’s done it, and I am happy for him and the whole team. Gary is a fantastic racing driver, but he’s also a great guy. It’s tremendous that he is rounding off his DTM career by returning to the top.”
Lucas Auer (24, Austria): “Congratulations to Gary, HWA and Mercedes. He and the team are deserving title winners this season. We certainly made the three-pointed star shine brightly again for Mercedes by securing the treble as we bow out of the DTM after 30 years. Top job by everyone in the team!”
Pascal Wehrlein (23, Germany): “That was unfortunately a weekend to forget as far as I’m concerned. I was down on speed the whole weekend. We still don’t yet know why, but that’s of minor importance today. Congratulations to Gary on his well deserved title win.”
Ulrich Fritz, Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM: “We’ve done it! Congratulations to Gary on his second DTM title after the first one back in 2005. It was an incredible fight at the end, with a very close finish. Our utmost respect for the performance of René Rast and Audi in recent races. To be going back to Stuttgart with the treble is sensational, especially with this being our last year in the DTM. Many thanks to the entire team for the hard work and passion they have shown throughout the year. Our thanks also go to Audi and BMW for the great racing and the wonderful times we have had together over the years. We will miss you.”
Source: Mercedes-AMG DTM