Mercedes could be set to add another former F1 driver to its roster for the 2014 DTM season following news that it will test former Renault driver Vitaly Petrov at Portimao today [Thursday].
The 29-year-old sampled DTM machinery for the first time when he took part in a demonstration event in Moscow last year before driving a DTM racing taxi during the Russian race weekend.
Petrov failed to race last year having lost his F1 drive with Caterham and has made no secret of his interest in a move to the touring car series, revealing back in November that he 'had the budget' for a drive and had spoken to Mercedes.
The German marque confirmed earlier this week that it had re-signed Paul di Resta
for 2014 after he lost his F1 with Force India.
“I'm absolutely delighted and really grateful to Mercedes-Benz for inviting me to test drive one of their DTM cars,” Petrov said. “This test is a great opportunity to get back in the cockpit of a high-performance racing car.
“I got my first impression of the DTM last year when I drove in the Moscow City Racing event and took the wheel of a DTM racing taxi for Mercedes-Benz at the Moscow Raceway during the DTM race weekend. I had never driven such a car before and the demo laps were fantastic fun.
“I've been especially impressed by the way the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé handles in the corners. The DTM is top-class and one of the most competitive touring car series in the world."
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said he was pleased to give Petrov the chance to sample a DTM car in anger for the first time.
"Russia is a highly significant market for the DTM and for Mercedes-Benz,” he said. “Following the success of the DTM debut at the Moscow Raceway last year, the interest of Russian fans in the series has grown considerably.
“Vitaly has been aware of these developments and expressed a desire to test drive our DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. We were only too happy to make his wish possible."