A successful DTM comeback for Mercedes-AMG Team Mücke Motorsport: Maximilian Buhk and his team from Berlin managed to finish in the top 10 right from the first race with seventh place. The traditional Berlin racing team returned to the DTM in Monza with a very special Mercedes-AMG GT3. The bolide is one of three technology carriers in the DTM that is equipped with Space Drive steer-by-wire technology from Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG and manages without any mechanical connection at all between the steering unit and the steering gear. It is intended to provide important data for the further development of Space Drive 3 in the highly competitive GT3 starting field.
At the first race in the Royal Park of Monza, the #18 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was able to finish in the points straight away. After a successful qualifying Maximilian Buhk started from 9th position on the grid and got through the chicane well and made up two positions. Due to a late mandatory pit stop, Buhk was able to take the lead of the 19 GT3 cars starting on lap 13. After the mandatory pit stop on the 23rd lap, Buhk reassigned himself in ninth place. In the last five laps, he was able to leave two of his opponents behind him and, with seventh place, scored his first points in the very first race.
Peter Mücke, Team Mercedes-AMG Team Mücke Motorsport: “I am happy with the first result. It was very important for me to see how the steering system works and how Maximilian Buhk can handle it in the race. The consistency we had was sensational. There is an enormous amount of potential in the Space Drive project. I think we’re on a very good path. We must not forget that the future is just around the corner. We are in an era in which a great deal will change in automotive engineering, and steer-by-wire is a very important part of that. It gives me great pleasure to contribute to that.”
Maximilian Buhk: “We had a good start. I was able to make up two positions. After the stop, we were able to make up two more on fresh tires. The car felt good throughout the race, including the steering. What I find positive is that when I get into the car I don’t think at all about what kind of steering I have, whether it’s one with a normal steering column or steer-by-wire. That’s very positive for me.”
The Mercedes-AMG Team Mücke Motorsport plan to go one better on Sunday unfortunately did not succeed. After a failed qualifying, the Space Drive Mercedes-AMG with the #18 started the race from grid position 15. The race to catch up turned out to be difficult. From the flying start, the 28-year-old got into a tussle at the first chicane and returned from the first lap in 17th place. Subsequently, the Space Drive driver stabilized his pace at a high level, but lost around three seconds due to a less than optimal pit stop and ultimately finished 13th in a Mercedes-AMG group of four.
Peter Mücke: “We have to deliver a better qualifying in the second race, because the speed at the end was definitely such that we could keep up with the other Mercedes AMGs. We were faster than the Mercedes AMG in front of us. Actually, we’re already on a very good track. For me, Maximilian Buhk’s comment on Space Drive was remarkable: He didn’t even notice that he had different steering, but he noticed that he was coping very well with it. I think that’s a huge success.”
Maxi Buhk was enthusiastic about the Space Drive technology, which replaces the classic steering column with a “steer-by-wire” concept and thus enables physically disabled people to drive: “The car worked very well, especially out the back I was able to really make meters in the second race and keep up well with the pace of the brand colleagues in front of me. The system worked very well. Even after the collision in the first chicane, when I took a really hard hit on the left front wheel, there was no malfunction or error message. That proves that the concept is already absolutely suitable for motorsport. Now it’s a matter of tinkering with the details to perfect this system, which is already very good.”
Klaus Graf, Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co.KG: “We are very satisfied with the weekend. The vehicles were competitive compared to their brand colleagues. That is crucial for us. We drove the whole weekend without any problems, with a view to the steering. The DTM debut was a historic event for us. Now we have to analyze the data we’ve gained in detail and then ultimately take the next development steps. I think there’s a lot of movement in the automotive sector right now, to be an important part of it and to initiate steps that may then result in quite lasting changes, that’s something special.”
Source. Mücke Motorsport/Photo. GruppeC photography