McLaren has confirmed that British DTM star and long-time tester Gary Paffett will be acting as its reserve driver for the first four races of the season – until his own racing season starts.
The team announced this week that the Bromley driver had been busy in the simulator at the McLaren Technology Centre preparing for his latest role, which will involve taking over the reins if either of the lead drivers finds himself unable to compete.
He is set to attend the season’s ‘flyaway’ grands prix in Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia and China.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal, said: “Gary has been on the team since 2006 and we value his dedication and technical feedback.
“We need someone who’s ready to step in if anything should happen to prevent Jenson or Lewis from taking part in a grand prix weekend.
“We know from working with Gary, and from watching his performances in other racing categories, that he’s ready and able to take on this responsibility.”
From April 25 Paffett will once again be one of Mercedes’ leading drivers in the tintop DTM series, although a development freeze means that he will retain his 2009 car.
Last year he came second overall in the championship, the highest-placed Mercedes driver, and one place ahead of Force India’s reserve driver Paul di Resta.