Maximilian Buhk will replace Gary Paffett in the Space Drive-equipped Muecke Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo at Monza and the Lausitzring due to the British driver’s clashing Formula E commitments on those DTM weekends.
Paffett is unable to contest the approaching DTM season-opener at Monza on June 19-20 because of his reserve driver and advisory role with Mercedes at the Puebla ePrix.
The same reason will then force the double DTM series champion to skip round two at the Lausitzring, which conflicts with the London ePrix in late July.
Paffett will be replaced at those rounds by DTM debutant Buhk, who sampled Muecke Motorsport’s Space Drive Mercedes-AMG during the first official DTM pre-season test at Hockenheim in April and again at Monza last month.
Space Drive is a steer-by-wire technology developed by German engineering company Schaeffler Paravan. The feature will appear on the DTM grid for the first time this year on board the Muecke Mercedes-AMG and Timo Glock’s ROWE Racing BMW M6 GT3.
“I’m very sorry to miss the first two events and I’m very excited to see how the car performs in the first two races,” said Paffett.
“I can’t wait to get in the car myself. Let’s see how competitive the Mercedes-AMG will be.
“But I expect that we will have a say in the DTM, score good points and maybe improve during the season. That should be a realistic goal. The first tests make me very optimistic.”
Buhk currently drives a HTP-Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in ADAC GT Masters but has never appeared in the DTM, which is now using FIA GT3 machinery.
The German driver won the 24 Hours of Spa in 2013 and also captured the Blancpain GT Series overall title alongside Dominik Baumann three years later.
“I am delighted to be part of this development project, even if only as a substitute,” said Buhk.
“Driving with Space Drive or with an electronic steering system is a completely new experience for me. My first impression was very positive.
“I was surprised how good the feedback I got from the steering was. Of course, there are still some areas where we can improve. The season opener in Monza will be exciting.”