Q&A: Maximilian Günther
Maximilian Günther continues to climb the career ladder. The 2016 ADAC Junior Motorsport Athlete of the Year will assume the role of official test and reserve driver for the Mercedes-AMG DTM team. Günther will accompany the team during the 2017 season as the seventh driver in the touring car series which enjoys international popularity. The 19-year-old was offered his first DTM test at the Young Driver Tests in Jerez de la Frontera early last December as a reward for his strong showing in the 2016 FIA Formula 3 European championship, in which he finished European championship runner-up.
Max, what led to your new role as test and reserve driver with the Mercedes-AMG DTM team?
Maximilian Günther: I’d just like to say first that it’s a huge honour for me to now be part of the Mercedes-AMG DTM team. I got the chance to do two days of testing with the team at the end of last year. The test runs went very well, as did working with the guys. I’ve now been given the chance to support the team as a test and reserve driver. I’m very excited about my new role and would like to achieve the best possible results.
What will you actually be doing in the team?
Maximilian Günther: I’ll be taking part in briefings during race weekends, so as to become better acquainted with the team and their procedures, and get an even more detailed insight into working with the engineers, especially during races. Plus, I’ll be taking out the Mercedes-AMG DTM racing taxi, which will be fun and a good opportunity to make driving the car routine. The main aspect of my work will be to prepare for future tasks.
It was your first time out in a DTM car in Jerez. How different was it compared to a Formula 3 racing car?
Maximilian Günther: Obviously, driving a touring car was very different at first. A DTM car has much more power and mass compared to a Formula 3 racing car. Besides, this was my first time in a racing car with a roof over my head. It was all very new, but overall, the switch from the Formula 3 car went very smoothly for me.
You got an idea of what working with the team will be like during the test drives. What were your first impressions?
Maximilian Günther: The standard in Formula 3 is very high, for sure, but working with the DTM team took me to a new level. You can immediately sense that a large manufacturer is behind them. Working with the engineers was extremely professional and yet very complex at the same time. You see, a great many more people are involved. I really enjoyed the work and it was a process that steadily ramped up. Getting some idea of what happens during test drives was really great, but I’m now really looking forward to becoming fully involved.
Would you be ready to race in the DTM this season given the chance?
Maximilian Günther: Absolutely! I posted consistently good lap times on the two days in the DTM car, which was an important first step. The more I can get involved this coming season, the more experience I can collect. Besides, I know most of the racetracks extremely well from my time in Formula 3 when we were often on the DTM’s support programme. A race would certainly be a big challenge, but I’m definitely up for it. Quite apart from that, it means something very special to me to be an official member of the Mercedes-AMG motorsport family.