2017 DTM Season: Analysis
The 2017 DTM season went out with a bang to mark the end of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport’s home fixture at Hockenheim. While Audi celebrated with their new DTM champion René Rast, the brand with the three-pointed star concluded the season with second place in the manufacturers’ classification.
The Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM took four pole positions, six wins and 14 podiums from the 18 races held this season. Most of the victories went to Lucas Auer, who finished three times on the top rung of the podium, putting him on level pegging with the champion, René Rast, and Jamie Green (both Audi). Apart from Lucas, Paul Di Resta, Maro Engel and Robert Wickens also each won one race this year.
All the sixes
All six Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM drivers achieved at least one podium this season. Lucas Auer (at Hockenheim, at the Lausitzring, Norisring and Nürburgring) and Robert Wickens (twice at both the Lausitzring and Nürburgring) finished on the podium more often than any of the others. In the Eifel, the team also pulled off one of the most amazing coups of the season with four drivers in the Top Four on Saturday and a one-two win victory on Sunday, so seven out of the eight trophies achievable that weekend (drivers’ and constructors’) went to Affalterbach. Paul Di Resta finished on the podium three times. Gary Paffett, Edoardo Mortara and Maro Engel all took one podium each.
Maro takes win on his return
Maro Engel returned to the touring car series with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport at the beginning of this season after a five-year break from the DTM. And what a return! At the Moscow Raceway, in only his second race, he took his maiden win in the DTM in front of 25,000 spectators (through the gates during the weekend). Maro benefited from an early pit stop and a safety car period on the way to his first DTM victory. Maro’s next triumph came about just a few months later when he drove with his new bride, Steffi, from the church out onto the coast road in a Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM transformed into a wedding car: “Totally awesome!”
Consistency is my middle name
Team captain and Mr Consistency rolled into one – that was Gary Paffett in the 2017 DTM season. The 2005 DTM champion completed his 14th season in the DTM for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport this year, but Gary proved that he’s not yet ready for the scrapheap by achieving 14 points-scoring finishes during 2017, more than any other driver signed to the brand with the star. Audi’s Jamie Green was the only one able to notch up one more finish in the points than him in the 18 races held this season.
Charging up the field
Edoardo Mortara was the King as far as charging up the DTM field was concerned this season. He gained 58 positions on his initial grid position during the 18 races. Maro Engel, another Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM driver, is in second place in this particular category. Maro improved by 48 places in the races. Taking into account all the gains in position at the end of a lap and not just those compared to the grid slot at the start, their records for most places gained look even more impressive. Edo improved by 216 positions in the 18 races, closely followed by Maro with 210 gains in position.
Fond farewell to mark end of season
Robert Wickens completed his last DTM race during the season finale at Hockenheim. The Canadian will switch to the IndyCar series next season when he will make his race debut with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Robert lined up for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in the DTM for six years from 2012 to 2017. He secured 429 points in all, taking 6 wins, 5 poles, 5 fastest laps and 15 podiums from 84 DTM races. His most successful year was the 2016 season, during which he was in contention to take the title until the penultimate weekend in Budapest. In his ‘swan song season’ of 2017, he won the second race at the Nürburgring, achieving his final win in the DTM at the track where he won his first race in 2013.