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Paffett promised McLaren test drive 26 Oct 2005

New 2005 DTM champion, Gary Paffett (GBR), DaimlerChrysler Bank AMG-Mercedes. DTM, Rd 11, Hockenheim, Germany. 23 October 2005. World ©  Sutton

Newly-crowned DTM champion Gary Paffett should soon be back behind the wheel of a Formula One car after Mercedes Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug promised him a McLaren test, according to the British driver’s official website.

Paffett, who has tested twice previously with McLaren, wrapped up the DTM title last Sunday with a third place at the wheel of his Mercedes at Hockenheim. But despite his success in the German touring car series, he insists his sights are still firmly set on Formula One, even if a 2006 race drive may be out of the question.

“I can savour the achievement of winning the championship and look forward to the test, because it is a step in the right direction to Formula One, which is where I want to be eventually,” he said.

“Let’s see what happens. At the moment, it looks like I’ll be defending my title in the DTM, because there are no race seats available in F1 next year. That in itself will be a massive challenge for myself and the team, who I have to thank for giving me such a fantastic car this year.”

Commenting on Paffett’s 2005 achievements, Haug added: “Gary showed his class today and he is the man of the year. He deserves the title in what was a challenging and demanding year.”

McLaren and Mercedes have yet to confirm a date and location for Paffett’s test.