Quick Chat: Gary Paffett
Going into the second weekend of the season, you are second in the standings on level pegging with Jamie Green. How much does it mean to you to have got your season off to such a good start?
Gary Paffett: If you don’t score any points in the season opener at Hockenheim, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re out of the running for the championship. But equally, it doesn’t mean that Lucas already has the title sewn up just because he leads the standings after the first two races. A good start to the season is therefore not imperative, but for the driver, the engineers and the team, it serves as strong motivation for the rest of the season. It puts you in a positive frame of mind, because you know that the car is fast. The points themselves aren’t everything, but they obviously help.
You’ll be competing in your 150th DTM race for Mercedes at the Lausitzring. At the start of your DTM career, could you have imagined that you would one day reach the 150 milestone?
Gary Paffett: No. When you’re starting out on your career, it’s really hard to imagine that you might be doing it for more than a decade of your life. 150 DTM races is really quite a lot. I am very proud of what I’ve achieved here, because you’re only around for as long as you’re putting in decent performances. That’s what I’ve managed to do. It’s hard work to be around for so long, because there are a lot of good drivers who would like to have your place and youngsters who are coming through from the junior classes. You have to work very hard to keep your place in the team. In all these years, there are some races that stand out in my memory. For example, the Norisring in 2005 which I remember vividly. It was an incredible race. You always remember the tough races that caused you problems and in which things didn’t go according to plan. One occasion that had great sentimental significance for me was winning my home race at Brands Hatch in front of my home fans in the UK. That’s always something special. Those two races are the ones I remember most.
You and Bernd Schneider share the record for the most victories at the Lausitzring – three each. Why are you so good on this track, and would you like the record all for yourself?
Gary Paffett: It doesn’t mean a great deal to me, but it’s always nice to hold a record. So if you look back and see that there are only two drivers who have won three times on a particular track, then you think: “Wow, I can’t have been all that bad.” The Lausitzring is a track where I’ve been good even when I wasn’t doing so well elsewhere. When I returned to HWA in 2009, I secured my first victory at the Lausitzring. In 2013, we were having a hard time, but at the Lausitzring, I managed my only win of the campaign. It is one of those tracks that is always good for a surprise result. That’s why we will go into this race weekend fully focused and well-prepared. And I certainly wouldn’t mind if I came away as the only driver to have won four or even five races there.