Reigning F3 Euroseries Champion Paul di Resta has been unveiled as one of Mercedes' ten DTM drivers for the 2007 season – and the Scot insists despite his lack of tin-top experience and a two-year-old car, he will not be content merely to make up the numbers.
The 20-year-old – cousin of Indy Racing League front-runner Dario Franchitti – will be the youngest member not only in the three-pointed star's driving squad this year but also in the entire series, as he gets set to make his bow in a 2005-spec Persson-run AMG Mercedes C-Class. Although he is well aware he will be facing a steep learning curve during his maiden campaign with a roof over his head, it is a challenge he is clearly relishing.
“It is not easy to change from an F3 car to the AMG Mercedes C-Class,” the former McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year acknowledged, “but my first tests went well. I am a rookie and have never raced a race car with a roof before, but I want to do more than just participate. I want to thank Mercedes-Benz for this opportunity with good results.”
Di Resta will join reigning title-winner Bernd Schneider, last year's runner-up Bruno Spengler, double Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen, leading British hopes Gary Paffett and Jamie Green, Greek ace Alexandros Margaritis, DTM sophomores Daniel la Rosa and Mathias Lauda and countrywoman Susie Stoddart in the Mercedes line-up.
“2007 will without a doubt be the greatest challenge for all participants in the history of the DTM,” remarked Norbert Haug, Vice-President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “Never before have all 20 cars been assigned to more capable drivers; never before have the cars been entered by more experienced and effective teams.
“All DTM spectators, be it at the race tracks or at home in front of their TVs, can look forward to even more excitement and even better sport. Every driver should be able to fight for points and the fact that there is room on the podium for only three of them and points for only eight promises great entertainment.”
The 2007 DTM campaign will get into gear at Hockenheim on 20-22 April.