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Following his axing from Sauber at the end of last year, Pascal Wehrlein will return to the DTM series with Mercedes in 2018 it has been confirmed.

The 22-year-old has maintained the support of the German manufacturer despite his Formula 1 exit and, alongside competing in the German touring car championship which he won in 2015, will be a reserve driver for the current world champions for this season.

His DTM return also coincides with Mercedes' final year in the category, as the company pulls out to focus on F1 and a Formula E entry from 2019, but for Wehrlein it's about continuing to prove he is worthy of a seat in F1.

“If I can be strong from the beginning, it could put me in a better position," he claimed. “But I haven’t thought much about that. I just want to give my best this year.

“Then hopefully I will be in a good position next year.”

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Despite scoring all of Sauber's points in a difficult year for the Swiss team in 2017, Pascal was dropped to allow Charles Leclerc to step up from F2 as part of a renewed partnership with engine supplier Ferrari, which also sees the Alfa Romeo name return to F1 for the first time in 30 years.

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Some six months prior to the start into the 2019 DTM season, the support programme of the series already is virtually booked up. The motor-racing enthusiasts may look forward to witnessing a multifaceted on-track programme, on the nine race weekends. For three days per weekend, from morning to evening, the motto will remain ‘Feel the Roar’, even if the vehicles of the popular touring-car series aren’t in action. After all, the schedule is packed with high-quality race series.

“For DTM, the introduction of the new 600bhp four-cylinder turbo engines for the 2019 season and beyond represents the beginning of a new era,” says Achim Kostron, Managing Director of DTM umbrella organisation ITR GmbH. “The fans on site may look forward to being provided even more exciting motor sport than in the past. And this also applies to the support programme.” And Frederic Elsner, ITR’s Head of Operations & Event, adds: “The 2019 DTM race meetings will feature top-class support series. We are really delighted with being able to provide the fans a clearly better support programme than in the recent past.”.

COMEBACK: PORSCHE TO GO FOR IT IN THE DTM SUPPORT PROGRAMME

When ITR announced the 2019 DTM calendar just a few weeks ago, during the season finale, Formula 3 and W Series already represented integral parts of the DTM race meetings. And now, the programme of nearly every race meeting has been finalised. Particularly remarkable: after a one-year break, the Porsche Carrera Cup is going to make its comeback on the DTM platform. In six of this year’s race meetings DTM will be accompanied by Porsche one-make series. The Porsche Carrera Cup Germany will contest races in the DTM race meetings at the Hockenheimring (season opener) and the Norisring, with the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux representing the Zuffenhausen based manufacturer at Zolder, Assen and the Nürburgring. And at Misano, the Porsche Carrera Cup France will be part of the programme.

In addition, the DTM fans may look forward to a true world premiere. The newly created, international W Series is going to contest its races for the time being exclusively in the DTM support programme. Girls and young women from all over the world will fight not only for pole positions, points and race wins but also for a prize money amounting to 1.5 million US Dollars to offer them the chance of making the next steps on the international motor-racing ladder. The cars are equipped with 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo engines and conform to the latest safety specifications of the International Automobile Federation, FIA. The W Series will accompany DTM during the first six race meetings (Hockenheim, Zolder, Misano, Norisring, Assen and Brands Hatch).

PART OF THE PROGRAMME THROUGHOUT THE SEASON: FORMULA 3

Integral part of the 2019 DTM support programme is the new Formula 3 series created by ITR subsidiary ‘Formel 3 Vermarktungs GmbH’ that will be contested with single-seaters that were used in the 2018 F3 European Championship. Formula 3 will contest three races on every DTM race weekend.

Following its successful debut in 2018, the Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup will make appearances in five DTM race meetings (Hockenheim season kick-off and finale, Misano, Lausitzring and Nürburgring). When DTM is making its comeback at Zolder, the Belcar Endurance Championship with its diversified GT touring car grid will make for a true motor-racing highlight. And at Assen, things will get really loud. In the DTM premiere at the Dutch circuit, the race series BOSS GP will join DTM. The acronym stands for ‘Big Open Single Seater’ and includes single-seaters of different series: GP2, World-Series-by-Renault, IndyCar and Formula Superleague.

Just as it was the case in 2018, the ‘Tourenwagen Classics’ will be a part of the DTM support programme on two race weekends: classic DTM vehicles of the 1980s and 1990s will make for nostalgia at the Lausitzring and the Nürburgring. And three times, at Assen, Brands Hatch and the Nürburgring, the popular Lotus Cup Europe will be part of the race meetings.

ADVANCE TICKET BOOKING ALREADY HAS BEGUN

A DTM weekend is not only pure racing but also a great event for the entire family. In addition to already established attractions, such as Pit View, Fan Village and Fan Terrace, concerts and autographing sessions make for a lot of good entertainment and variety. The advance ticket booking for all the race meetings of the 2019 season already has begun. The tickets can be ordered at the official website, www.dtm.com/tickets.

2019 DTM CALENDAR (INCLUDING SUPPORT PROGRAMME)

3.–5. May: Hockenheimring (GER)
W Series, Formula 3, Porsche Carrera Cup Germany, Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup

17.–19. May: Circuit Zolder (BEL)
W Series, Formula 3, Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, Belcar Endurance Championship

7.–9. June: Misano World Circuit (ITA)
W Series, Formula 3, Porsche Carrera Cup France, Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup

5.–7. July: Norisring (GER)
W Series, Formula 3, Porsche Carrera Cup Germany

19.–21. July: TT Circuit Assen (NED)
W Series, Formula 3, Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, Lotus Cup Europe, BOSS GP

10.–11. August: Brands Hatch (GBR)
W Series, Formula 3, Lotus Cup Europe

23.–25. August: Lausitzring (GER)
Formula 3, Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup, ‘Tourenwagen Classics’

13.–15. September: Nürburgring (GER)
Formula 3, Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux, Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup, ‘Tourenwagen Classics’, Lotus Cup Europe

4.–6. October: Hockenheimring (GER)
Formula 3, Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup, t.b.a.

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19-year-old Aberdein will be one of six drivers taking part in the Audi DTM Young Driver Tests at the Lausitzring, 24th - 26th October.

Jonathan Aberdein (19, South Africa, Motopark) will take the next step in his career as one of the top-ten drivers from this year's ADAC Formula 4 season with four podiums to his name and ninth place overall.

He is now set to test a DTM car for the first time. Aberdein, whose father Chris drove for Audi in many South African race series, is one of six junior international drivers, who will participate in Audi DTM Young Driver testing at the Lausitzring, 24th - 26th October.

"It's like a dream come true for me," said a delighted Aberdein. "It is obviously a great honour to be chosen as one of six drivers worldwide for these tests, and my career path is taking a step in the same direction my father's took with a drive in a race-prepared Audi."

"Many thanks to everyone, who's made it possible, not least to my dad and to my team, Motopark."

Apart from Aberdein, who lined up in the ADAC Formula 4 for Oschersleben-based team Motopark in 2016 and 2017, the following drivers will also be busy testing at the Lausitzring: Austrian Formula 3 driver Ferdinand Habsburg, the two Formula 2 drivers Alex Palou from Spain and Nyck de Vries from the Netherlands and fellow Dutchman, Dries Vanthoor, plus French WTCC rookie Yann Ehrlacher.

Swiss DTM driver Nico Müller from Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline will set the benchmark times.

 

         

 

 

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