DTM rookie Nico Muller admits that he needs make every lap of pre-season testing count as he makes the transition from single-seater racing.
The Swiss youngster moves over touring cars with Audi in 2014, having been a surprise addition to the squad following Filip Albuquerque's move to the marque's sportscar programme, but, while not admitting to any pre-season nerves, is keen to get started on his preparation.
“It feels better every day!” he insisted, “When I received the call from Audi, the feeling was unique - of course, I'd been hoping for this and working towards it, but then everything suddenly happened very fast. Now I'm gradually starting to realise what this step into the DTM with Audi means for me.
“I'm not at all nervous yet, but I'm sure I'll get nervous soon enough. At the moment, I'm fully concentrating on my preparation and particularly the pre-season tests. We haven't got a lot of time to prepare so, as a rookie, I've got to squeeze the maximum out of every single lap.
“Racing comes before anything else for me. The DTM is a difficult series and, from my point of view, currently poses the biggest challenge to any race driver. That's why I can hardly wait to be pitted against all the top drivers on track. Obviously, all the things surrounding the race will be new for me too - more visibility, more fans, more commitments, getting to know new things – but I really wouldn't mind if it started tomorrow!”
Muller will team up with multiple DTM racewinner Jamie Green at Audi Sport Team Rosberg and says he could not have asked for a better partner for his debut season.
“We've already had our first team meetings, gotten to know each other a bit better, and discussed initial details,” the newcomer confirmed, “Jamie, with his experience and personality, is the perfect team-mate for me.”
Despite knocking on the door of F1 with spells in GP3 and the World Series by Renault, and winning at Monaco in the latter, Muller insists that his call-up by Audi has generated as much interest as anything he achieved in single-seaters.
“I've never experienced anything like it,” he confessed, “I'd won a formula race in Monaco before – and there were a lot of calls and e-mails afterwards - but the reactions following the DTM announcement, they were in a class of their own. It took me a few days to thank all the people who sent their congratulations....”