Mercedes has formally confirmed its expanded eight-man driver line-up for the 2015 season, with ex-F1 driver Vitaly Petrov dropped in favour of Maximilian Gotz and Lucas Auer.

The Russian driver made his DTM debut with Mercedes in 2014 but failed to score a single point and has subsequently been dropped from the manufacturer's reshuffle ahead of the 2015 season.

Beyond the previously announced Gotz and Auer, Mercedes will retain six drivers for 2015 with Gary Paffett, Paul di Resta, Daniel Juncadella, Pascal Werhlein, Christian Vietoris and Robert Wickens staying on board for the new season, which will see DTM return to a two-race per weekend format.

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Notably, the experienced Paffett has been charged with fronting the new ART Grand Prix set-up after the French team announced it would enter DTM as a customer team for the first time in 2015. He will drive alongside European F3 graduate Auer.

"The new DTM season promises to be extremely exciting," says Head of Mercedes Motorsport Toto Wolff. "While having two races per weekend means a fresh challenge for all drivers and teams, it will also be a great experience for the fans. 100% more racing gets the thumbs-up and shows that we listen to our fans. As regards our choice of drivers, we're going for continuity and fresh blood in the shape of Lucas and Max.

"After eleven years in the DTM, Gary has decided to take on a major challenge in building up our new team, ART Grand Prix. He will be able to directly influence the team's development and mould the entire outfit. Gary is perfectly suited to this task with the experience gained from contesting 112 DTM races.

"Five of our drivers have already won a DTM race during their careers. We want to tap into that success this year. Last season is over and done with. We have meticulously analysed our performance and learned our lessons. We began restructuring our DTM programme last year.

"We aim to continue that process in 2015. We cannot make any promises concerning performance. Instead, we must keep both feet on the ground, prepare for the new season and try to play to our strengths as best we can. We now have to devote our full attention to the season opener at Hockenheim."

Elsewhere, Juncadella and Gotz will compete with the Mucke Motorsport set-up, while Wehrlein, Wickens, Vietoris and di Resta are split across the two HWA teams.

Though it notched up three wins in 2014, Mercedes endured an otherwise difficult season, finishing well behind rivals Audi and BMW in the constructors' standings.