The start of the 2018 DTM Series is on the horizon with Mercedes‘ drivers getting preparations for their thirtieth campaign underway.
It will be a year of celebration all around as it will be the three pointed star’s final year in the championship.
As tradition the team have undergone a training camp in La Manga, Spain from 12-16 February.
“It’s been a good week with some tough training sessions,” said Gary Paffett, who is lining up for Mercedes for the fifteenth year. “It was nice to do a lot of team sports to bring the team even closer together and get the drivers really working as one. After all, we haven’t seen each other much over the winter.”
Paffett, feels that the training camp is the best way to – unofficially – start the season.
“It was nice too that some of the engineers and members of the strategy team were able to be present, even though we nearly destroyed them on the run up the hill! But it was good that they hung on in there and got stuck in. We all had a great time together.”
As well as activities such as mountain biking, tennis, football, pilates, martial arts and stand up paddling, the schedule also included medical check ups and meetings about the upcoming season.
“We work in perfect harmony as a group,” said Lucas Auer. “The highlight for me was the stand-up paddling in the sea, which was incredibly difficult and the best training session in my opinion. Everything was really great and we had some nice weather too in Spain. It could hardly have been better.”
Dani Juncadella returns to the DTM after a year’s absence and enjoyed the training camp in his home country as he reintegrated himself into the team.
Paul di Resta enjoyed the preparations and is looking forward to getting Mercedes’ final DTM season underway.
“It was great to get the old body moving and flex our muscles again after the winter break,” said di Resta. “The focus was on team work, but that’s now about to be followed by the bit we all like best, getting back behind the wheel! It’s what I’m looking forward to most.”
Heading into his second year as a Mercedes driver, Edoardo Mortara enjoyed being back at La Manga with the team and loved the fitness week.
After two years in Formula One, 2015 DTM champion Pascal Wehrlein returns to the DTM and the fitness camp gave him the opportunity to be reunited with his team.
“It was terrific fun, and everyone was really pleased to see me again.
“It was also good that some of our engineers were here and we were able to discuss our approach for this season, since we all share the same goal, we want to have an excellent season and this week was a good way to get things started.”
Ulrich Fritz, head of Mercedes DTM, said: “The fitness camp at La Manga has become a much-loved tradition for all of us in recent years.
“Of course, the focus is on getting physically prepared for a tough season, but our time together in Spain should also serve to strengthen the team’s feeling of solidarity, and that proved to be the case once again this year.
“Our two returnees, Dani and Pascal, slotted straight back in and team spirits are exceptionally high – even before we get started on our final DTM season – and we can’t wait to go on to the next stage of preparing for the season ahead with the first test drives.”