The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season gets underway at Hockenheim this weekend (1 May). With 2010 champion Paul di Resta having moved on to a race seat in Formula 1, a host of drivers behind the wheel of Mercedes and Audis will be eager to claim the title.

Here, www.TheCheckeredFlag.co.uk takes a look at the drivers lining up on the 2011 grid.

Already a DTM champ once, Gary Paffett will lead Mercedes' 2011 contingent

2. Gary Paffett
HWA Mercedes
Thomas Sabo AMG Mercedes C-Klasse (2009)

The 2005 champion has finished runner-up in the previous two years. After di Resta's departure the McLaren test driver is now best placed within the Mercedes team to win the title this time round and begins the season as the favourite.

3. Bruno Spengler
HWA Mercedes
Mercedes-Benz Bank AMG Mercedes C-Klasse (2009)

The Canadian led the way for much of the 2010 season, but he blew his chances of a first DTM title with a disastrous weekend at the season finale on the streets of Shanghai. Will need to pick himself up and contend for the title again this season.

4. Timo Scheider
Audi Sport Team Abt
Auto Test Audi A4 DTM (2009)

The former double champion will want to bounce back this season after a disappointing 2010, where he was unable to match the leading Mercedes trio. The switch to Hankook tyres could well help him to do that after Audi struggled with the Dunlops last year.

5. Oliver Jarvis
Audi Sport Team Abt
Audi Sport Performance Cars A4 DTM (2009)

British ace would have hoped for much better from his first season with the top Audi team last year, suffering plenty of bad luck along the way. He has been given another season to prove his potential, and podium finishes will be a must for him.

6. Ralf Schumacher
HWA Mercedes
Salzgitter AMG Mercedes C-Klasse (2009)

The former Grand Prix driver has still to get the hang of the DTM, scoring points on just one occasion in 2010 and finishing down in 14th in the standings. He must improve this year if he is to have any long-term future in the series with promising drivers amongst Mercedes’ ranks.

Jamie Green will enjoy a promotion into Mercedes' top team for this season

7. Jamie Green
HWA Mercedes
AMG Mercedes C-Klasse (2009)

Briton gets his reward for an impressive two years in older machinery, where he won at the Norisring in both seasons and was amongst the title challengers for the first half of the year. He will hope to repay his bosses by being in contention for the title throughout this year.

8. Mattias Ekstrom
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline
Red Bull Audi A4 DTM (2009)

Series champion in 2004 and 2007, the Swede is currently enduring a bit of a barren spell in terms of titles. He will want to put that straight this year, but will need Audi to be able to match Mercedes this year. Along with Scheider he forms the main opposition to Mercedes.

9. Mike Rockenfeller
Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline
E-Postbrief Audi A4 DTM (2009)

Rockenfeller was the third best Audi driver in 2010, despite driving an older car, so is promoted to the top team for 2011. He will hope to repeat some of the success he has enjoyed in Audi's sportscar programme, where he has won both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the LMS.

10. Susie Stoddart
Persson Motorsport
TV Spielfilm AMG Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse (2008)

Stoddart enjoyed her most successful season to date in 2010, scoring points on two occasions and outscoring both Schumacher and Coulthard. She will hope to make more visits to the points in 2011, which will be her sixth year in the series.

11. Christian Vietoris
Persson Motorsport
Junge Sterne AMG Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse (2008)

German youngster combines his maiden DTM season with a second year of GP2. He could be set for a long term future in the Mercedes DTM ranks, and the move may even help him get to Formula 1 with the support of the German marque as well as the Gravity management firm.

14. Martin Tomczyk
Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Schaeffler Audi A4 DTM (2008)

After ten years racing for the Abt team with just four race wins and no title, Tomczyk is dropped to an older-spec car for 2011. He needs to try and bounce back from this by mixing it with the Abt quartet and being the best of the drivers in older-spec cars.

15. Rahel Frey
Audi Sport Team Phoenix
Glamour Audi A4 DTM (2008)

Frey replaces Katherine Legge as the lady in the Audi camp. The Swiss is formerly a race winner in German F3 and raced at Le Mans last year with the Matech Ford team. 2011 will very much be a learning year for her.

16. Maro Engel
Mucke Motorsport
GQ AMG Mercedes C-Klasse (2008)

Former British F3 contender returns for a fourth year in the DTM.  He has only scored occasional points in each season so far, so is unlikely to challenge the frontrunners.

17. David Coulthard
Mucke Motorsport
Deutsche Post AMG Mercedes C-Klasse (2008)

BBC commentator scored his first point at the season finale in 2010, and will be looking to make regular visits to the top eight in his second season. Said he would not take up the offer of a current-specifcation of car in order to let the younger drivers have a chance.

2010 Race of Champions victor Alburquerque drove Audi's in the Superstars Series last season

18. Filipe Albuquerque
Audi Sport Team Rosberg
TV Movie Audi A4 DTM (2008)

The surprise winner of last year's Race of Champions in Dusseldorf, Audi have signed the Portuguese ace after racing for the marque in Italian GTs. A former race winner in A1 Grand Prix, he has made a one-off appearance in an V8 Audi touring car in the Superstars Series at Portimao in each of the two previous years, and won there in 2010.

19. Edoardo Mortara
Audi Sport Team Rosberg
Playboy Audi A4 DTM (2008)

After dominating the F3 Euro Series last year as a factory Volkswagen driver, a ride with the VW-owned Audi in their DTM attack always looked on the cards. If he can carry his F3 promise across into the DTM he has the potential to do very well indeed.

20. Renger van der Zande
Persson Motorsport
Stern AMG Mercedes C-Klasse (2008)

Backed by Mercedes during his years in F3, van der Zande has called time on his single-seater career after a tough year in GP3. Another one with potential for a long-term future in the series, but will first need to learn the ropes this season.

22. Miguel Molina
Audi Sport Team Abt Junior
Red Bull Audi A4 DTM (2008)

The Spaniard showed a lot of potential last year following his switch from Formula Renault 3.5. This year he will try and show that he has a strong future in Audi's DTM plans by getting amongst the frontrunners on a more regular basis.

2011 DTM calendar:

1. Hockenheim, 1 May
2. Zandvoort, 15 May
3. Red Bull Ring, 5 June
4. Lausitz, 19 June
5. Norising, 3 July
6. Nurburgring, 7 August
7. Brands Hatch, 4 September
8. Oschersleben, 18 September
9. Valencia, 2 October
10. Hockenheim, 23 October