GaryPaffett is a British racing driver and one of the longest servants in the DTM series which he won in 2005.
He was born on 24th of March 1981 in Bromley, a small suburban town in greater London. As a kid, Paffett competed in the various minor karting races, but when he was 10 years old, he became the vice-champion of the British Junior TKM Championship. A year later, he managed to win the title in the same competition and he also took second place in European Junior ICA Championship.
Gary during his karting days
McLaren's Young Driver of the Year
Gary’s progress continued in 1996 when he became a champion in McLaren Mercedes Karting Champion and was second in British Junior ICA Championship. A stream of successes earned him a place in single-seaters and he immediately won the title in 1997 Formula Vauxhall Junior Winter Series. He was also awarded as the best newcomer to the series. Even better performance Paffett showed the following year, winning all of 13 races in Formula Vauxhall Junior Class B. He moved up to Formula Vauxhall Junior Class and again won the title which was enough to be awarded as the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year.
Video - DTM inside with Gary Paffett
Few years after becoming a British F3 champion, Gary Paffett moved abroad. In 2001, he debuted in German F3 Championship, finishing sixth at the end of the season. A year later, he was unstoppable and won the championship title being on the top throughout the entire season.
Gary Paffet debuted in DTM with Mercedes AMG in 2003
In 2003, he participated in F3000, but after the team, with which he had a contract with, withdrew from the competition, Paffett lost his seat. Luckily, he was contacted by Mercedes who offered him a ride in DTM series. The first season in the popular German touring cars championship was relatively good and he finished 11th.
2005 DTM champion
Next year Paffett confirmed his quality finishing as a DTM runner-up to Mattias Ekstrom, winning four of 11 races in 2004. The best season in the career of the British driver thus far was probably in 2005 when he clinched the DTM title. Paffett won five races that year and missed the podium finish only twice, which was a revenge in great style to Ekstrom.
2005 DTM champion with Mercedes
Formula 1 test driver
Those results weren’t unnoticed. Paffett announced that he won’t defend his crown in 2006 after McLaren Formula 1 team signed him to become a test driver. Nevertheless, despite having a contract with McLaren, he never got a chance to compete in Formula 1 World Championship. McLaren was finally released him in 2014.
Gary Paffett (right) with Pedro de la Rosa, Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen
Return to DTM and three-time runner-up
Instead of racing in Formula 1, Gary Paffett competed regularly in DTM as a driver of Mercedes Benz AMG. In 2007 and 2008 results weren’t so good, but in the following two years, Paffett was a title contender. In 2009, British driver finished second, just five points behind Timo Scheider while in 2010 he again was the vice-champion, losing the battle to his compatriot Paul Di Resta by only four points.
In DTM Mercedes
After finishing 7th in 2011, Gary Paffett in 2012 was a DTM runner-up again . He had an excellent start of the season but that wasn’t enough to bring him a second title. At the end, Paffett was only four points behind Bruno Spengler. In the last two years with Mercedes HWA Team, the Brit was 6th and disappointing 22nd.
Gary Paffett, DTM Mercedes, Zandvoort
For the 2015 campaign, Gary Paffett switched to ART Grand Prix team, newcomers in DTM, and finished 8th in the season after retiring from three of the last six races in the season. The season of 2016 was pretty the same like the previous. British driver scored only two podiums, at Zandvoort and Moscow, before finishing 11th overall.