Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it will swell its driver line-up to seven drivers for the 2014 DTM series, with Robert Wickens, Christian Vietoris and Pascal Wehrlein confirmed as staying with the manufacturer.
The German marque persevered with six C-Coupe entries for the 2013 season, compared with the eight cars entered by rivals Audi and BMW, but will expand again to seven in 2014 to accommodate new signing Vitaly Petrov, who was announced as part of the firm's line-up last week.
In addition to former F1 driver Petrov, who will become the first Russian driver to compete in the DTM, Mercedes will welcome Paul di Resta back to the fold, the 2010 champion returning to DTM after three years in F1 himself.
Along with Gary Paffett and Daniel Juncadella, who had also already been previous confirmed as staying with Mercedes, Wickens, Vietoris and Wehrlein will remain for 2014 after encouraging performances in 2013.
Vietoris and Wickens were Mercedes' best performing drivers last season, finishing fourth and fifth in the overall standings respectively, while the latter picked up his maiden DTM win at the Nurburgring. Wehrlein's place, meanwhile, comes at the expense of Roberto Merhi, who has been shifted to a test driver role for 2014.
"My goal last season was to consistently finish in the points and maybe even achieve a podium - I did even better than that with three podiums and my first DTM victory," said Canadian former FR3.5 champion Wickens. "I aim to build on those results in 2014 and improve further. I definitely got the taste for victory at the Nürburgring."
Despite an indifferent season in 2013, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff believes the manufacturer now has an enticing blend of both youth and experience to ensure it can take the fight to BMW and Audi this year.
"Our DTM squad for the 2014 season is a good mix of successful DTM winners such as Gary and Paul, plus aspiring DTM drivers like our Mercedes juniors," said Head of Mercedes Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff. "We clearly did not quite live up to our expectations last season, which is why we intend to do much better in the new season. With two DTM champions, two ex-Formula 1 drivers and a bevy of young, well-proven DTM drivers, we will achieve even more race wins this year and aim ultimately to have a good crack at the title."