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Reviews Auer ahead of Mercedes deal: Which drivers the AMG teams are betting on in the DTM

11:20  03 march  2021
11:20  03 march  2021 Source:   motorsport-total.com

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Lucas Auer macht sich von BMW auf den Weg in seine alte Heimat bei Mercedes © BMW Lucas Auer makes his way from BMW to his old home at Mercedes

Who will drive for Mercedes-AMG in the coming season the DTM? Not an easy question, because many works drivers were already booked for other GT series when AMG decided to support teams in the traditional series. And so they are currently working behind the scenes to expand the works squad in order to equip the DTM teams planned for , GruppeM, the main racing team, HTP-Winward and Mücke , of which six cars are expected.

"As far as the drivers are concerned, not much has been decided," says Mercedes-AMG customer sport coordinator Thomas Jäger when asked by 'Motorsport-Total.com'. "We are currently in the process of getting the contracts signed - some of them have already been signed. As soon as that is done, we will sort it out with the drivers."

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What will the DTM squad look like, according to Jäger? "It will be a good mix of young and experienced people," he announced. "Well-known AMG drivers will also play a role, because we need one or the other top performer as a reference in order to correctly assess the level and to measure the others against it."

Auer before returning to Mercedes

According to information from 'Motorsport-Total.com', an exciting deal is actually looming behind the scenes: Lucas Auer, who was a Mercedes works driver in the DTM from 2015 to 2018 and has four wins import, is according to information from 'Motorsport-Total.com' after his early termination of the BMW contract before a comeback with the Stuttgart.

The 26-year-old would be an asset to Mercedes-AMG, because Auer has competed regularly in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in recent years and even triumphed in the 2017 GT Masters at the Nürburgring.

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Why the GT3 aces Engel and Marciello don't drive in the DTM

But what about the top GT3 stars Maro Engel, who also has DTM experience, and Raffaele Marciello? With their class, the two would definitely be an asset to the DTM, but to the chagrin of the teams they are not available.

The 35-year-old Engel, who won the 2017 DTM in Moscow in a Mercedes and was third in the GT Masters last year as the best Mercedes-AMG driver, was again requested by Toksport WRT for the GT Masters, with which two Race weekends overlap.

And Marciello, known for his speed, is divided into the Sprint Cup and the endurance series of the GT World Challenge Europe, which means that he would also have to accept three overlaps with the DTM. The problem: The Russian paydriver Timur Boguslavskiy, who finances the project, insists on starting the Sprint Cup together with the 26-year-old Italian.

Will Gary Paffett make a DTM comeback?

Marciello will start in the endurance series with the two AMG newcomers Daniel Juncadella and Jules Gounon. Since this only has one DTM overlap, at least the Spaniard is a possible candidate for the traditional series in which he competed from 2013 to 2019.

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But who are the other candidates? While ex-DTM driver Maximilian Götz is negotiating with Hubert Haupt's team, former DTM champion Gary Paffett, who will be 40 years old this month, is also among the narrower circle of candidates, according to Mercedes circles. The Briton, who resigned as champion in 2018 when Mercedes left the DTM and was kicked out after a hapless Formula E year in 2019, did not complete any races in 2020.

But because of its big name, it would be quite attractive for the DTM, especially since otherwise, with the departure of defending champion Rene Rast with Marco Wittmann and Mike Rockenfeller, if they stay in the DTM, there would only be two ex-champions in the field. In the end, however, it is up to the teams and their budget planning to request pilots from Mercedes-AMG.

Ellis, Ghiotto and Fraga as further candidates

Further Mercedes-AMG candidates for the DTM: 28-year-old Briton Philip Ellis, who won the season finale for HTP-Winward last year alongside Marciello in the GT Masters and first , the 26-year-old ex-Formula 2 and R motorsport driver Luca Ghiotto from Italy, who is bringing money, and the 25-year-old Brazilian Felipe Fraga were accepted into the AMG works squad on Monday.

But Fraga has already been nominated for the WEC, where he will compete for TF Sport as an Aston Martin driver in the GTE class. The problem: Team partner Ben Keating finances the project, and Fraga receives good money for the commitment. So if there are postponements and overlaps due to the coronavirus pandemic, things will be tight. So he would need approval from Keating for the DTM.

DTM 2021: Different designs for the Mercedes-AMG by Winward .
© WWR, Mercedes-Amg The two Mercedes-Amg of Winward Racing receive different looks The next team moves to: after the Rosberg team now also presents HTP Winward Racing The designs of its two vehicles for the DTM season 2021. In contrast to Rosberg, Winward uses different looks for the two Mercedes-AMG GT3. The vehicle from Lucas Auer comes in a black and white design with red elements. The Austrian is sponsored by his compatriots of Remus.

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