A distinguished guest is planning to drop in on the third race of the 2012 season (18th - 20th May): Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 driver Jenson Button will be checking out the DTM when it makes the first of its four foreign excursions this year.
On Sunday, Button will meet up with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team-mate and current DTM championship leader Gary Paffett (THOMAS SABO Mercedes AMG C-Coupé). The winner of the first race of the new DTM era will then show him around the new DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, focusing particularly on the features that distinguish it from an F1 car. Once Button has familiarised himself with the controls, he will be offering his services as a ‘race taxi’ driver, to take the current DTM championship leader around the legendary English circuit.
The winner of the opening race of the 2012 Formula 1 season in Melbourne last competed at Brands Hatch in 1999 when he was contesting the British Formula 3 Championship, finishing each of the three races in the points.
On Sunday 20th May at 11:10 in front of the Mercedes-Benz hospitality suite, there will be an autograph session for fans followed by a question and answer session chaired by Mercedes-Benz DTM driver David Coulthard (DHL Paket Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) who is the expert analyst on the BBC live coverage of Formula 1 racing.
In his Formula 1 career to date, Jenson Button has scored 13 Grand Prix victories for Honda, Brawn GP-Mercedes and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes – twelve of them with Mercedes-Benz power – and won the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship title for the Mercedes-Benz customer team Brawn GP. The victory for Nico Rosberg (MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS) in this year’s Chinese Grand Prix was the first since 1955 for a 100% works- Silver Arrow; the winner was joined on the podium by Button (third) and by McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton (runner-up). This was the second time in three years that the Chinese GP finished with three Mercedes-Benz-powered drivers on the podium.
“Brands Hatch is one of the circuits where I cut my teeth in junior single-seaters and I have many fond memories of the place – in Formula Ford, the Formula Ford Festival, and in British Formula 3. It’s one of the greatest tracks in the world, and a place with an awful lot of motorsport history.
“It’s going to be a fantastic experience to head back to Brands Hatch to watch the DTM race there on May 20. I think the new DTM rules are going to provide the British fans with some really close, tense and exciting racing – and I’ll be hoping that Gary Paffett, my Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team-mate and our test and development driver, will be able to hold onto his lead in the championship with another win. “Gary’s also given me the chance to drive the DTM ‘race taxi’ with him – it’ll be the first time I’ve driven Brands since doing F3 there back in 1999. It’s going to be very cool.
“I think the DTM weekend will be a great event – it’s a fantastic series with some excellent, close racing and some of the best drivers in the world. For me, it’s going to be a great personal experience and a fantastic opportunity to get up-close and personal with all the British fans who have been supporting me over the years.”
Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsportchef:
“Like most of the current crop of Formula 1 drivers, Jenson takes an interest in the DTM, so he was pleased to accept our invitation to the Brands Hatch weekend. I am sure he will have a lot of fun driving one of our DTM ‘race taxis’ and watching the race itself.”