Fresh from leading a quarter of the race distance at the Chinese Grand Prix, MERCEDES GP PETRONAS driver Nico Rosberg will be a special VIP guest this weekend at the 2011 DTM season opener at the Hockenheimring.
The highlight of his visit will be when Nico gets behind the wheel of an AMG Mercedes C-Class, in the colours of his personal sponsor THOMAS SABO, to act as an exclusive chauffeur to a number of special guests. This will mark the first time that he has driven a DTM car on track – and his debut driving tin-top machinery.
“As a young driver, I grew up around the DTM and I know that it’s a fantastic series with a unique atmosphere and great crowds,” said Nico. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the THOMAS SABO AMG Mercedes C-Class for my first ever drive in a DTM car.”
While the 25 year-old will be on familiar territory lapping the 17-corner circuit where he has competed three times in Formula One, the challenge he faces will be very different. The 4-litre V8 engine of the DTM car develops about 500 bhp, compared to the usual 700 bhp-plus from his 2.4 litre V8 in F1; and he will be at the wheel of a machine with a kerb weight of 1050 kg, some 60% higher than the MGP W02 he campaigns in his day job.
“As a racing driver, it’s great to be able to drive different cars and broaden my experience – you always learn something,” continued Rosberg. ”Although it’s a tin-top, the AMG Mercedes C-Class is a serious racing machine. I’ll be treating it with respect on my first drive but I’m also looking forward to seeing what it can do, and to discovering the differences compared to my Formula One car.”
In addition to his first DTM drive, Rosberg will be available for an autograph signing session with his fans, and on Saturday evening will get a taste of the unique heritage of Mercedes-Benz – while also giving a glimpse of the company’s future.
At a special event for invited guests, Rosberg will drive the 1886 Benz Patentwagen and also give the spectacular Concept A-Class, recently unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show, its European premiere.
“I’m really excited to be going back to my roots in Hockenheim. It’s going to be a very special weekend, especially experiencing the extremes of around 500 bhp in the DTM car and less than 1 bhp with the Patentwagen. It’s incredible to think that Mercedes-Benz was leading the way 125 years ago and it still does today. It makes me very proud to be part of this special story.”
As for on-track predictions for the weekend, Rosberg has just one: “The only time I want to see a specific driver win is when I’m sitting in the car myself! But naturally, I hope that Mercedes achieves the same result as it has at the most recent DTM races in Hockenheim: victory for the AMG Mercedes C-Class.”