Mücke Motorsport will not be fielding DTM champion Gary Paffett in the Space Drive cockpit at the DTM season opener in Monza. He will be replaced at the high-speed circuit in Monza next weekend and at the second race at the Lausitzring from 23 to 25 July by Maximilian Buhk, who was already behind the wheel for the tests at the Hockenheimring and in Monza a good fortnight ago. The #18 Mercedes-AMG GT3, with Space Drive steer-by-wire technology, which requires no mechanical connection at all between the steering unit and the steering gear, is an important part of the development programme of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG and Space Drive 3.
The original plan was for Gary Paffett to be behind the Space Drive wheel in Monza, but this is now not possible at short notice for scheduling reasons. In all probability, he will take part in the racing action for the first time at the DTM in Zolder. “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,” says Gary 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.”
Maximilian Buhk was able to familiarise himself with the Space Drive System during the first test at the Lausitzring in April and a good fortnight ago in Monza. “I am delighted to be part of this development project, even if only as a substitute,” says the 28-year-old from Reinbek. “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.”
The season opener in Monza is also a special premiere for the DTM itself. It is the first year that the organiser is fielding a strong GT3 field, and it is also the first time in its history that the DTM has visited the legendary Monza circuit. The 5.793-kilometre high-speed circuit’s fast corners make it a very challenging and new testing ground for the development teams and engineers around steer-by-wire technology.
The Space Drive technology has been approved by the Deutscher Motor Sport Bund e. V. (DMSB) in 2019. The world’s first vehicle of this type was used under the extreme conditions of motorsport in the GTC Race. In the meantime, the technology has been firmly anchored in the DTM regulations. The vehicle, which does not require a mechanical connection between the force feedback steering unit and the steering gear, is equipped with technology that has its origins in mobility for the disabled. Testing the robustness and durability of the system in this high-profile environment is an important step in the development process for the Space Drive Team at Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG and provides important findings for large-scale production.
Eight race weekends are scheduled for the 2021 DTM season. Two races each will be held on Saturday and Sunday. The season opener in Monza will start on Friday, 18 June, at 1 p.m. with the 45-minute Free Practice, the 2nd Free Practice will start at 4.10 p.m.. On Saturday, 19 June, the first grid of the season will be set in qualifying at 10:30. The race will then traditionally start at 13:30. On Sunday, qualifying will begin at 10:10am for the second race this weekend, which will start at 1:30pm. On both days, the race will be broadcast live on SAT.1 from 1 pm. All practice runs and races can also be seen in the livestream at DTM Grid.
Source. Mücke Motorsport/Photo. Gedlich