Five-time FIA World Rally Championship champion Sebastien Ogier will make his DTM debut with Mercedes during the Austrian round at Spielberg, it has been announced.
The Frenchman will drive the Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM as a guest driver at Red Bull Ring during the September 21-23 weekend. Ogier has only once driven the Mercedes DTM car in a taxi ride at Circuit Zandvoort.
However, the Spielberg DTM round will be his first real chance in a race weekend against the drivers already fighting for the title. The French rally driver will take part in the test though at Vallelunga on August 7-8 to prepare for the weekend.
“This is a very exciting experience,” said Ogier. “The DTM is something completely new for me, but I’m trying to learn as much as possible with each lap. I see it as an opportunity to broaden my racing horizons and gain more experience.
“Up to now, I haven’t driven much on permanent racetracks – only a couple of times in a GT car. A DTM car is obviously faster. Of course, you can’t expect to be competitive as a guest starter right away.
“I’m expecting a difficult first weekend at Spielberg, where my target will be to keep up with the other drivers as much as is possible.” The last time Ogier took part in circuit racing was in 2014 in ADAC GT Masters at Lausitzring and Porsche Supercup at Spielberg.
“Sebastien is a real racing driver. He has demonstrated his ability more times than enough all over the world on gravel and tarmac by winning five world rally championships,” said Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM, Ulrich Fritz.
“So it comes as no big surprise to me that he would now like to tame a DTM car. He will be making his DTM debut on a proper race circuit at Spielberg, and I know for sure that he and his fans will have a lot of fun as he does so.
“However, it’s also very apparent that it will be no walk in the park for Sebastien as a guest starter in such a hotly contested field. Still, that’s what drives a champion like him to put on a good show for the fans.”