David Coulthard has confirmed that he will be making a return to the track in 2010 with Mercedes in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series.
The veteran Scots racer, who since leaving active service with Red Bull in 2008 has been presenting the BBC’s F1 coverage, has been signalling for some time that he would like to try his hand at the popular touring car event.
A visibly thinner Coulthard, who recently took part in DTM’s pre-season tests, confirmed his return during his summarising stint at F1 qualifying this morning, saying that he had missed the adrenaline buzz of competition.
He told the BBC: “There’s a reasonable level of technology involved in the cars, it’s a professionally-run championship and in Mercedes there’s a company I worked with for seven years in my time at McLaren.
“The adrenalin is the thing I miss in everyday life.
“Do I miss the competition? Only because I know how much fun it is to compete. But there’s not a big void in my life which means I’m missing it.
“But if I can do a championship which fits with my other commitments and I get the buzz you get behind the wheel of a racing car, then why would I not take it? I’m almost 40, I won’t have that option open to me when I’m almost 50.”
Coulthard will be joining fellow Scots Susie Stoddart and Paul di Resta at Mercedes where five of the seven drivers will now be from the UK. The others are Jamie Green and DC’s old McLaren colleague Gary Paffett.
In addition rival Audi also fields Oliver Jarvis and Katherine Legge meaning the series remains excellent value for British fans.
The series kicks off at Hockenheim on April 25. DC will appear for the AMG Mercedes team and will be equipped with a 2008-spec C-Class.
This is the slower of the two classes of car to appear but a development freeze and the dropping by manufacturers of some even older-spec cars means the gaps between participants should be smaller this year than previously.
Last month Mercedes racing boss Norbert Haug said of DC’s potential return: “It’s really pleasing that he feels this enthusiasm for DTM. He already has executed two DTM tests, now. We had agreed on these tests as early as during his days as Formula 1 driver.
“He just should drive a DTM car. David has attended a lot of DTM races and also watches them on TV. He has been keen on driving a DTM car for 10 years and now, we found an opportunity to offer him the chance of doing so.
“He did a good job and also had a lot of fun and so, we now are talking about possibilities to find a solution. Maybe there will be a positive surprise but at this point in time, I can’t make any promises.”
It looks like that worked out well, then – and, of course, by coming back under the wing of Mercedes DC has become a team-mate, however tenuously, of his old F1 rival Michael Schumacher.