Tales from the paddock – Gary Paffett: “The guys with more experience are getting the best out of the car on a more consistent basis”

23.
May 2018
Stuttgart

Strong start to the DTM season for Gary Paffett – the last time he won two of the first four races of the season was in 2012. In an interview, he explains what has changed this year...

  • This is what happened: Weekend results and facts
  • News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
  • Three questions for Gary Paffett
  • Social media news: What’s new online?

This is what happened: Results and facts

  • DTM: Edoardo Mortara and Gary Paffett win the two races at the Lausitzring
  • DTM: After two race weekends, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS head the team standings; Mercedes-AMG on top in the constructors’ championship.
  • Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup: Tristan Vautier, Raffaele Marciello and Adam Christodoulou are runners-up in a Mercedes-AMG GT3

News snippets

Monaco, here we come: The Monaco Grand Prix probably counts as everybody’s highlight of the Formula 1 racing calendar. Last year, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari brought a silver winning streak in the streets of Monte Carlo to an end. Between 2013 and 2016, four victories in succession had gone to a Silver Arrows driver (three times Nico Rosberg, once Lewis Hamilton). Over the years, Mercedes-Benz-powered cars have won eleven times in the classic race contested through the streets of the Principality. There have been ten pole positions, 21 front row starts, nine fastest race laps and 22 podiums to celebrate.

Stat-Attack – Lausitzring: Two races, two wins: the Lausitzring continues to be a happy hunting ground for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team. Edoardo Mortara and Gary Paffett secured victories number 14 and 15 for the brand with the three-pointed star last weekend. Mercedes-AMG Motorsport have now won more DTM races at the Lausitzring than any other manufacturer. For Edoardo, it was not only his first success at this particular venue but also his first win as a member of the Mercedes squad. Gary won for the fourth time with the team at the Lausitzring and rightly earned the accolade of ‘Mr Lausitzring’. No other driver has won more times on this track (2005, 2009, 2013, 2018) than the 2005 DTM champion. Gary’s tally of 22 DTM victories puts him in fourth place on the DTM all-time leaderboard, just one win behind Mattias Ekström. Reigning supreme at the top are undisputed DTM record championship winner Bernd Schneider (43) and DTM legend Klaus Ludwig (37).

Strong start to the season: The Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team could hardly have wished for a better all-round start to the season. After two race weekends and four rounds of the competition, the team has registered three victories, two pole positions, three fastest race laps and six podium finishes. The championship leaderboard provides further confirmation: after the first four races of the season, five of the team’s drivers are in the Top Six. Gary is on 71 points, just one point behind championship leader Timo Glock (BMW). Mercedes-AMG Motorsport PETRONAS lead the team classification on 110 points, while Mercedes-AMG tops the manufacturer standings on 212 points ahead of BMW (164) and Audi (52).

Further successes in the Blancpain GT Series: Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams secured second place in the general classification plus various class victories in the three-hour race at Silverstone. After the Mercedes-AMG GT3 took second and third place in the opening fixture of the Endurance Cup at Monza, second in the Sprint Cup at Zolder and third at Brands Hatch, the trophies keep mounting up. At the ‘Home of British Motorsport’, the number 88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP driven by Adam Christodoulou (GBR), Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Tristan Vautier (FRA) finished a strong runner-up. There were two further cars from the Affalterbach factory in the Top Ten – the number 4 entered by Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON (Yelmer Buurman / Maro Engel / Luca Stolz) in sixth place and the number 43 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of STRAKKA Racing (Maximilian Buhk / David Fumanelli / Maximilian Götz) in eighth place. This strong team result was rounded off with a victory in the Silver Cup for the number 6 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of BLACK FALCON (Abdulaziz Al Faisal / Hubert Haupt / Gabriele Piana) and a one-two finish in the Pro-Am class by the number 49 RAM Racing (Salih Yoluc / Euan Hankey / Darren Burke) and the number 42 STRAKKA Racing (Nick Leventis / Lewis Williamson / Chris Buncombe). The next round of the Endurance Cup will be the 1,000km race at Paul Ricard (1st - 2nd June) in two weeks’ time.

Victory and maiden podium in the Pirelli World Challenge: Local favourite Daniel Morad (CAN) in the number 2 Mercedes-AMCRP Racing G GT3 won Saturday’s race at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – the second victory for Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge this season. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was also successful: Shane Lewis (USA) and Gar Robinson driving the number 72 and number 74 sister vehicles of Robinson Racing claimed one third place each in the two races on Saturday and Sunday. Not only did they register a maiden podium in the Pirelli World Challenge for their team but also for the Mercedes-AMG GT4, which is in its debut season in the North American racing series.

Victory and podium in the DMV GTC: The Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing team équipe vitesse had already achieved podium finishes in the first two events of the season, and now Kenneth Heyer (GER) has secured his first victory of the season at Spielberg. Driving the number 5 Mercedes-AMG GT3, he first won race one and then, together with team-mate Josef Klüber (GER), took second place in the Dunlop 60. They were followed across the line by Uwe Alzen and Dietmar Haggenmüller (both GER) for Team Spirit Racing in third place. Also having a successful weekend was Mario Hirsch (GER) in the number 20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 entered by Race-Art.eu with a P2 result in the second sprint race at the Red Bull Ring.

Three questions for Gary Paffett

Four races, two wins: what has been your formula for success so far this year? 

Gary Paffett: The car is good and very quick. My engineers and I were also able to make sure that the setup was perfect for me. Because it’s not just important that the car is fast; it’s also crucial to know how I like to drive it – and we’ve been successful in that regard on both weekends. We also tried a couple of things at Hockenheim and at the Lausitzring that I didn’t like, but for the races themselves, we managed to get it the way I like it. Maybe it has something to do with the change in the aerodynamics this year that I just feel more comfortable driving a car that has this level of downforce. Ultimately, it’s all about making the car easy for me to drive.

You’ve just mentioned the changes to the aerodynamics. Maybe the experienced drivers can handle that a bit better than the younger ones? 

Gary Paffett: Maybe, but I also think that the drivers who have more racing experience running different tyres and cars are the ones that have been more consistent over the first four races. Of course, some of the younger guys have really good races because they are really fast drivers; no doubt about that. But you also need racing experience if you want to replicate that performance all the time and change the car to give you the best balance for qualifying and the race. And I think, so far it has been shown that the guys with more experience are getting the best out of the car on a more consistent basis.

The last few years have not necessarily been the best for you and Mercedes. Did you ever doubt yourself at some point during this period? 

Gary Paffett: I had a couple of rough years. The 2011 season was really difficult and 2014 likewise. Other than that, I’ve always been pretty happy with the year. Sometimes, I just had the feeling that we didn’t get the car right or that I made a mistake. But I’ve never lost confidence in myself. There have been a couple of years where it was a bit of a mystery why the results weren’t coming and why our performance was not up to standard. But I’ve never lost confidence in this team; everyone works really hard, and in the past regulations haven’t gone our way. This year, it is a lot more equal between all the manufacturers with the new regulations. I really don’t feel that there is any reason why one car has an advantage over all the others. The cars are virtually all the same now. But our engineering team is doing a great job with the car, and our mechanics are also doing a great job putting them together.

Social Media News

#PurePitWall: With its first one-two victory of the campaign, the team made a perfect start in Barcelona to the European leg of the season. Our chief strategist James Vowles answers fans’ questions about the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYKcwdkSlxw

#Technology: How is it that downloading data from a Formula 1 car and uploading a selfie relies on the same technology?

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W5I4wVjn-g

#30yearsDTM: We look back on our best DTM moments at the Lausitzring. These include the maiden victories recorded by Paul Di Resta, Pascal Wehrlein and Lucas Auer.

Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqjwWOQiC0I

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  • Title
    Tales from the paddock – Gary Paffett
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    Tales from the paddock – Gary Paffett
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