Gary Paffett bids farewell to Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters with a chance to win second title this weekend
Whatever happens at Hockenheim this weekend in the last round of this year’s Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), Gary Paffett will bow out proud.
The 37-year-old Clare resident is in his final DTM championship – after a 15-year career in the touring car series – and will line up on the grid with a chance to claim a second-ever title.
Paffett lies narrowly in second in the overall standings after 18 rounds, behind team-mate and former Formula 1 driver Paul Di Resta, with just the weekend’s two races on the German track remaining.
With just four points separating the two Mercedes-AMG drivers, it will come down to the final weekend’s results to separate the champion from an agonising runner-up spot, although Audi’s René Rast has an outside chance of drastically altering the narrative from third.
But Paffett, who will follow the Mercedes team as they make a move to race in the new Formula E championship from next season, said he will leave with happy memories.
“It’s been a great season,” he said.
“We’ve been competitive from the first weekend – barring a few tough races of course – and it’s felt really positive all year.
“I’ve scored a podium at most weekend’s races and I’m confident I can do that again.
“It would of course mean a lot to finish on the massive high of a second title but, either way, I will look back on my DTM career fondly.”
Paffett won an inaugural championship in his third season in 2005 as a fresh-faced 24-year-old before taking his only gap from the racing series to chase his F1 dream in the 2006 season.
After spending the season as a full-time test driver for McLaren-Mercedes, he returned to the DTM and has been hunting for a second title ever since.
“It’s been much harder to get that second win, very hard in fact,” he added.
“Looking back on it, the first seemed quite easy, it all just fell into place and I maybe took it a little bit for granted.
“But this season it’s been tight from the start, and against my team-mate too – which adds interest to it.
“René has an outside chance so it should be a really good race, there’s a lot riding on it.
“Hopefully my experience can help me too. It’s crunch time and it will be as much about who handles the pressure best as anything else.
“It’s motorsport though, so there’s always a bit of luck to it, but I’m feeling pretty confident.”