Ralf Schumacher (33) has extended his contract and will start in the DTM (German Touring Car Championship) in 2009 with Mercedes-Benz.
After his learning year with a 2007 car, he will now race the new 2009 Trilux AMG Mercedes C-Class, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport announced today. The season will start in Hockenheim on 17th May 2009.
After 11 years in Formula 1, Ralf Schumacher started his DTM career at Hockenheim on 13th April 2008. Like Jean Alesi and Mika Häkkinen before, who had changed from Formula 1 to DTM in 2002 and 2005 respectively after their Formula 1 careers, Ralf Schumacher was by far the most demanded interview partner for the media and a favourite of the spectators.
Ralf Schumacher scored his first point in the DTM finishing eighth at the Nürburgring in extreme weather conditions. There he had started from seventh on the grid, his best ever qualifying result. In Barcelona he finished seventh which was his best race result of the season.
Ralf Schumacher had concluded his Formula 1 career after 11 years and 180 grands prix at the end of the 2007 season. He won six grands prix and - with BMW Williams - finished both the 2001 and 2002 Drivers‘ World Championships in fourth place.
Ralf Schumacher is one of Germany’s best grand prix drivers, sitting alongside his brother Michael. After changing to the DTM at the beginning of the previous season, he became soon one of the most popular drivers for fans and media due to his friendly attitude.
“After only one year with last year’s car I now change to the up-to-date Mercedes-Benz C-Class. A great chance for me.“
“It was clear for all of us that 2008 would be a learning year for me, therefore I am satisfied with my achievements. The 2009 C-Class is a big chance for me and I want to justify the trust Mercedes-Benz put in me with good results.”
“In my opinion, the DTM is the best touring car series in the world. Here we fight hard for every metre and every tenth of a second. As I know from many encounters in the paddock, the fans like this as much as me. From my point of view, the spectators don’t get more value for their money in any other top racing series.”
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
“During the last season, Ralf Schumacher demonstrated that he was racing in the DTM with all his heart and that, after his Formula 1 career, he does not consider touring car racing a challenge which he has yet finished.”
“His learning year was good for him and for the DTM. The racing series again showed that even a world class driver with Formula 1 victories to his credit cannot come straight in and compete against the front runners. Nevertheless, Ralf became one of the most popular drivers already in his debut year and was in the focus of the interest from the beginning to the end.”
“Our latest tests in Mugello showed that Ralf can drive a DTM touring car at top level. After his ‘learning year’, he will get the chance in our new 2009 C-Class: Now everything is up to him and to us and I am sure Ralf will show what he can do.”
Note: The complete 2009 Mercedes-Benz DTM driver line-up is expected to be announced within the next four weeks.
Leave a comment