Buhk to replace absent Paffett in opening DTM races

Factory Mercedes-AMG driver Maximilian Buhk will contest the opening two races of the DTM in 2021 for Mucke Motorsport in the absence of Gary Paffett.

Buhk to replace absent Paffett in opening DTM races

As revealed by Motorsport.com earlier this week, two-time DTM champion Paffett will skip the Monza and Lausitzring rounds due to his clashing role with the Mercedes Formula E team.

This means the British driver will not be able to make his long-awaited DTM return until the third round of the season at Zolder in August. 

When Paffett made a decision on rejoining the DTM after a two-year absence in March, incidentally after receiving a call from Mercedes customer racing boss Stefan Wendl during the Diriyah Formula E races, the British driver only faced one clash between the two championships.

However, FE later decided to add a new event at Puebla when it became clear that the Mexico City race was no longer feasible, meaning he will now miss at least two rounds and has no chance of adding a third DTM title to his CV in 2021.

“I just want to let you know some news which probably would disappoint a lot of you that I’m not going to be racing at the first event in Monza and the second event at Lausitzring as well in the DTM,” Paffett said in a video message on Twitter.

“Due to my previous commitments with the Mercedes Formula E team as reserve driver and technical and sporting advisor, I’m not going to be able to make it there because of the clashes with Puebla in Mexico and the UK events of Formula E. 

“Unfortunately I’m not going to be at the first two events but I’ll be back on track pushing as hard as I can from the third weekend onwards. The car, the Schaeffler-Paravan Mercedes run by Mucke Motorsport, will be racing there in the very safe and capable hands of good friend Maxi Buhk so I hope you can all cheer the team in my absence as I will be.”

Mucke has called in the 28-year-old Buhk to replace Paffett for the opening two rounds of the championship.

The German driver completed a day of running at the Hockenheim pre-season test in April to familiarise himself with the Schaeffler-Paravan-developed steer-by-wire system, dubbed 'Space Drive’. More recently, he privately tested for two days at Monza, the venue for this weekend’s championship opener.

"I am delighted to be part of this development project, even if only as a substitute,” said Buhk. "Driving with Space Drive or with an electronic steering system is a completely new experience for me.

"My first impression was very positive. I was surprised how good the feedback I got from the steering was. Of course, there are still some areas where we can improve. The season opener in Monza will be exciting."

#48 Mercedes-AMG Team Mann Filter Mercedes-AMG GT3: Maximilian Buhk

#48 Mercedes-AMG Team Mann Filter Mercedes-AMG GT3: Maximilian Buhk

Photo by: Jan Brucke/VLN

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