Paffett enjoying new challenge
Paffett enjoying new challenge

Gary Paffett couldn’t have asked for a better end to his DTM career, as he won the 2018 title, 13 years after his first title.

With Mercedes also exiting the championship at the end of the 2018 season it was a fitting end for the German car manufacturer as well as the Bromley race ace.

Speaking about the 2018 season, Gary said: “It couldn’t have been a better end to my time in the DTM, with it also being Mercedes final year as well. It really was a perfect way for me to end my time in the series by winning the title in 2018.

“It was important to me to win it again, as I last won it such a long time ago, around 13 years and I have finished runner-up four times since then. A lot of people have won the title once, and the list is a lot shorter for those who have won it twice, and I wanted to make sure that my name was on that list of two time winners. I now feel like I have done everything and achieved everything that I wanted to in the DTM.

Gary has now taken on a new challenge with a move back to single seaters and a move to the HWA Racelab team for the Formula E series, which got underway in Saudi Arabia in December, and he was out on track in Marrakesh a few weeks ago.

Giving his thoughts on the new challenge, he added: “It is something that is certainly different to what I have been used, and is going back many years to when I used to race in single seaters. Obviously I have test driven for McLaren and Williams during the last few years in single seaters, but it is very different to be back racing in them again.

“You have to get used to everything when you are coming into a new series, the team, the car, the racing. It is a new team to the series and I am new to the series, so there is a lot of work getting used to new race tracks, as well as the set-up of the car, and it is a lot of work to get on top of that.”

The first two races of the season have been a steep learning curve for Gary and the team, but it was a challenge that he always knew that there would be for the first year, and one he is relishing being involved with.

Reflecting on the opening two races, he said: “Raid was really hard work. With rain in the middle of the dessert which is unusual, it took out a lot of the testing time and set-up that we would normally have got. The first time we drove the car in the dry was the race itself. I made a mistake in the race and retired early.

“The race in Marrakesh, Stoffel (Vandoorne) was too ambitious early on and went down the inside of me causing damage to him, which retired him straight away and then causing me damage which retired me two laps later. It was a shame as we were making progress and obviously we wanted to go longer into the race which didn’t happen. The first year is a learning year, no one is disillusioned by the start we have had or the challenge that we are undertaking.”

With the first year being a learning year as Gary said, it makes it more of an interesting challenge that could be very rewarding when the second season gets underway.

“The whole team is new to the series and formula-e, we all have to learn as we go forward. There is no pressure on us for the whole of this year, as it is a learning year. We want to make our mistakes this year, and then next year we want to be challenging from the start. If we can score any points this year that would be a bonus.”