DTM champion Gary Paffett has been confirmed as the first driver at the new HWA Formula E team for its maiden campaign in 2018/19.

Paffett, who trails Mercedes teammate Paul di Resta by four points in the 2018 standings heading into this weekend’s final round at Hockenheim, will switch to the all-electric series following the German marque’s exit from DTM at the end of the current campaign.

Mercedes announced plans to end its long-term involvement in DTM last year in favour of a switch to Formula E in 2019/20, with affiliate HWA joining the grid for the upcoming season five as a powertrain customer of the Venturi squad.

"I am really excited about driving for HWA in the fifth season of Formula E," said Paffett. "This is basically the first time for 15 years that I will have switched series and cars.

"It will be a major challenge - for me, and for the team. Most of them - like me - are moving over from the DTM. As such, we have a lot to learn. It will certainly not be easy at first, but we are ready and are all looking forward to it.

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"Formula E is a very promising series with great prospects. It is great to be a part of it.

"I watched the race in Marrakech at the start of the year and was impressed by the atmosphere. It was totally different to the DTM and anything else I've seen before.

"We must adapt to this new format and adjust our approach to the race weekends accordingly. The standard of the drivers and teams is definitely very high."

The new squad, which will officially be called HWA RACELAB, revealed the livery that will feature on its Gen2 cars, which will be powered by Venturi-supplied VFE-05 powertrains. It will operate from a workshop at HWA's Affalterbach headquarters.

HWA is yet to announce who will partner the Briton for season five, though the likes of McLaren Formula 1 outcast Stoffel Vandoorne and former Manor and Sauber F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein have emerged as contenders for the second seat.

"We’re looking forward to the new challenges that come with Formula E," said team principal Ulrich Fritz.

"Over the past weeks and months, we’ve worked very hard to lay a solid foundation, upon which to enter this fiercely-competitive series. In doing so, we’ve benefitted greatly from the experience gained in cooperation with the Venturi team, whom we supported last season as technical partner.

"We’re now well positioned with our own team to compete under our own flag. We’re approaching this challenge with a healthy mixture of confidence and respect. The season ahead will be a learning year for HWA Racelab, but I’m confident that we’ll very quickly establish ourselves and be competitive in the series.”

Formula E’s official pre-season testing for 2018/19 takes place at the Valencia circuit on October 16-19, ahead of the first race of the season in Saudi Arabia on December 15.

 

 

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