British drivers make up a quarter of the DTM grid in 2007, and four of the five will be behind the wheel of a Mercedes C-Class – with high hopes of success in the season-opener at Hockenheim this coming weekend.
Arguably the highest-profile of that quartet – McLaren Formula 1 tester Gary Paffett – is returning to the series he dominated two years ago, before leaving to focus his efforts on his grand prix duties. Now back in a 2006-spec machine, the 26-year-old is keen to remind his rivals of the talent that saw him sweep to no fewer than nine victories during his previous three-year stint in the championship.
“After my one-year break I am excited to experience the first competition with my former and new competitors,” the Suffolk ace enthused.
Jamie Green has also enjoyed considerable success in the DTM since joining the fray back at the start of 2005, but despite registering six pole positions, five podium finishes and three fastest laps, the former F3 Euroseries Champion has yet to sample the taste of victory champagne.
“After six pole positions,” he asserted, “I finally want to win races.”
Fellow F3 Euroseries king Paul di Resta was the final addition to the three-pointed star's ranks for 2007, and will pilot a two-year-old machine during his maiden campaign in the series. He is eager to make his bow at Hockenheim, a happy hunting ground for the 20-year-old in years gone by.
“I know the circuit from F3,” he explained, “and I clinched the F3 Euroseries title here last October. The tests have shown that I am managing to get used to the still unfamiliar touring car.”
The final Brit in the Mercedes line-up is DTM sophomore Susie Stoddart – making it a nicely even Anglo-Scottish two-two mix – and the fast lady from Oban is bidding to improve on the brace of top ten finishes she scored in the season-opener and finale at Hockenheim in 2006 – on the latter occasion coming within a tantalising two seconds of a points-paying position.
“In Hockenheim last year I achieved my best result of the campaign,” she stated. “This year I want to improve further and fight for points.”