Felix Rosenqvist has been handed a maiden outing in DTM as replacement for the F1-bound Esteban Ocon ahead of the Moscow round.
With Ocon stepping up to F1 with Manor for the remainder of the 2016 campaign after taking over Rio Haryanto's race seat at Manor
, Rosenqvist will fill in at the Team ART-run Mercedes squad for at least round six at Moscow Raceway on the 19-21 August.
Rosenqvist has acted as Mercedes DTM's reserve and test driver since graduating from European Formula 3 as champion last season. The Swedish driver has combined the DTM role with a truncated campaign in Indy Lights and a full season in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, and also finished runner-up in the 24 Hours of Spa driving alongside Renger van der Zande and Tristan Vautier.
The 24-year-old is relishing the opportunity of competing in DTM and is confident of a smooth learning curve from reserve to race driver inside the Mercedes-AMG fold.
"Getting the opportunity to race in the DTM is very exciting for me. I've been a part of the Mercedes-AMG family for many years, and this was always one of my primary targets,” Rosenqvist said. “It is going to be a real challenge, joining such an incredibly competitive championship mid-season, and I know I will have a lot to learn in a very short amount of time.
“Having been around the team in my capacity as test and reserve driver this season should help ease the transition, however, and I'm grateful to Mercedes-AMG for finally getting this chance. I can't wait to get out on track in Moscow.”
Rosenqvist will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of recent Mercedes-AMG DTM graduates Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein, who have now become team-mates in F1 at Manor, and head of Mercedes-AMG DTM Ulrich Fritz is confident the Swedish driver will apply himself well to the new role.
"The world of motorsport never stands still and is always offering new opportunities. It's fantastic that two of our Mercedes Juniors in the shape of Esteban and Pascal have made the step up from the DTM to Formula 1,” Fritz said. “At the same time, this gives the next talented squad member in line the chance to prove himself in the DTM.
“As our test and reserve driver, Felix is well prepared for the challenge. He has gone everywhere with the team since the beginning of the season, including the fitness camp, and he knows the whole squad as well as the car.
“His strong performance in the 24-hour race in Spa also speaks volumes. It therefore makes absolute sense for us to give him the opportunity to contest this DTM race weekend in Moscow. And of course, a very special thank-you goes to Esteban for his achievements this season. He has done exceptionally well in his DTM rookie year against a strong field."
Mercedes-AMG has not yet confirmed whether Rosenqvist will fill in for the remainder of the year in DTM and have only given the green light for the Moscow round so far.