Gary Paffett’s much-anticipated return to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters championship in 2021 has unfortunately been postponed indefinitely as a result of the various travel restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to make an emphatic comeback to the series in 2021, the two-time DTM champion teamed up with Mücke Motorsport and Schaeffler Paravan to pilot the team’s #18 Mercedes-AMG GT3, utilising Schaeffler Paravan’s innovative Space Drive Technology - which features no mechanical connection between the steering column and steering gearbox.
After a highly promising and productive pre-season testing regime, Gary had to miss the first two DTM events of the year owing to his Formula E commitments with Mercedes and strict entry regulations into Belgium also ruled him out of the previous round at Zolder.
Set to return at the Nürburgring towards the end of August, it became apparent that Gary would not be able to compete this season due to the logistical implications regarding travel as the United Kingdom is not present on Germany’s travel “safe list”, with lengthy quarantine arrangements not a feasible option. Therefore, Maximilian Buhk, who deputised for Gary at the opening three rounds of the season, will continue to pilot the #18 car for the remainder of the season.
Gary will continue to be involved in Schaeffler Paravan’s exciting Space Drive Technology project as a brand ambassador, helping drive the project forwards.
"The situation is very frustrating,” Gary said. “I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to compete in the DTM this season. I'm especially sorry for the team and my fans, who must have been really looking forward to celebrating a reunion in the DTM. I am very happy to be part of the Schaeffler Paravan project. The tests with the Space Drive System were very convincing. I will continue to be a brand ambassador for Schaeffler Paravan and to be able to support the development of the Space Drive System and other future projects. I was very impressed with the technology and am excited to be involved."
"We regret having to make this decision,” Peter Mücke, Team Principal of Mücke Motorsport, added. “But it is the right one and provides planning security for the season for everyone involved. There is no question that Gary is a very good driver. But the problems we have at the moment with coronavirus cannot be explained away. Gary has no realistic chance to come here to test. You have to be fair to him, too, and that's why it's currently better that Maxi continues. He knows the car, he knows the system, he knows the team and that's why we can certainly work best there."