Mercedes is hoping to put its experience to good use this weekend in Barcelona, as the DTM title battle hots up and looks like heading right down to the wire.
Two of the top three drivers in the current standings are Mercedes aces Bernd Schneider and Bruno Spengler. The series' first Spanish visit in 22 years –more than a quarter of its races have been contested outside of Germany in 14 different countries – will be new ground for everyone.
Having seen Audi's Tom Kristensen gain on his points advantage following victory last time out at Zandvoort, Schneider is clearly keen to re-assert his authority under the Spanish sun.
“When we tested here I liked the circuit,” the German said, “and with only ten kilograms more than the Audis we should have a good chance to succeed. My target is to extend my championship lead.”
“Like in Zandvoort, it's often windy in Barcelona which makes it difficult to find a good set-up,” third-placed Spengler added. “When we tested here we found out that something that worked well in the morning doesn't always work as well in the afternoon after conditions changed.”
Scottish driver Susie Stoddart had her first-ever taste of DTM machinery at Barcelona, while ex-grand prix stars Jean Alesi and Mika Hakkinen also have fond memories of the Catalan track, and are evidently hoping to reproduce some of their Formula One successes there this weekend.
“I achieved three podium finishes at Barcelona in Formula One,” Alesi said. “At the Circuit de Catalunya tyre wear is pretty high, which means a good pit-stop strategy will be crucial for the race. With the experience our team has gained a good result should be possible.”
“Barcelona is a high speed circuit and requires a lot of commitment from the driver in some corners which is great fun,” his Finnish rival added. “I have great memories there by achieving three victories in F1, but DTM cars are not the same and I look forward to the new challenge. After two unsatisfying results recently I want to reward my team with a top result for their hard work.”