source: DTM, photos: DTM and Audi Sport
The number jigsaw has been solved as all the 18 drivers have made up their mind. The most important information beforehand: in the 2018 season, the spectators will not find the No 1 on the DTM grid. The reigning champion, René Rast, opted for the same approach as Lewis Hamilton in Formula One or Marc Márquez in MotoGP: despite being the champion he does without contesting the season with the #1 that is reserved for the title defender but once again will race with the No 33 on his car – provided the DTM commission agrees to this decision. Incidentally, Marco Wittmann in 2015 was the last DTM driver to date to have contested his title-defence campaign with the #1 on his car.
With the #33, René Rast is a member of an illustrious club. Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and one of the best ice-hockey goalkeepers of all time, Patrick Roy, have worn the No 33 on their jerseys. For this reason, this number is not assigned to any other player by the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA as well as by the Montreal Canadians and the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL.
Meanwhile, Pascal Wehrlein opted for the #94. This was the number the 2015 DTM Champion raced with during his first stint in DTM with a Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM and secured the 2015 title, thus becoming the youngest DTM Champion in the history of the sport.
His team-mate, Daniel Juncadella, chose a new number. The DTM returnee switched from the #12 to the #23. The BMW newcomers Philipp Eng (25) and Joel Eriksson (47) also will race with two-digit numbers while Audi’s rookie, Robin Frijns, opted for the #4. And the cars of other 12 drivers will be decorated with the same numbers as last year.
THE NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
#2 Gary Paffett (Mercedes-AMG): “I opted for the #2 as somebody stole my favourite number. But to be honest: I won my first national kart title with the #2. Therefore it is something special for me.”
#3 Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-AMG): “I won my first kart championship with the #3. Furthermore, I like odd numbers.”
#4 Robin Frijns (Audi): “The #4 accompanied me during my successful years in single-seater racing and brought me luck. I hope it will keep on doing so in DTM.”
#7 Bruno Spengler (BMW): “I had my problems to decide between the 7 and the 17 as I had the 17 on my kart. But I won the 2012 DTM title with the #7 on my car and therefore, this number always will have a special significance for me.”
#11 Marco Wittmann (BMW): “Twice the #1 always is good – and in addition I was born in November. The #11 has turned into a kind of a trademark for me.”
#15 Augusto Farfus (BMW): “At the beginning of my career, in my karting days, I always raced with the #18. But now it was time for a change. Therefore, I chose the #15. But there’s no special consideration behind this decision.”
#16 Timo Glock (BMW): “Actually I wanted the #5 but Mattias Ekström was faster. So I opted for the #16 as you easily can deduce my initials TG from it.”
#22 Lucas Auer (Mercedes-AMG): “The 22 always brought me lot of luck, even as early as in my karting days. And I’m happy to have the opportunity to also race with it in DTM.”
#23 Daniel Juncadella (Mercedes-AMG): “I wanted the #5 but that’s ‘Eki’s’ number. The 33 unfortunately also wasn’t available. A close friend of mine past away last year following a motorbike accident and he had the #33. He was born on 05th May. 2 + 3 = 5 and two threes are 33. Therefore the #23.”
#25 Philipp Eng (BMW): “For me, it’s something very special to have my BMW M4 DTM decorated with the #25 that’s a legend in the BMW-Motorsport history. “I will contest my DTM races with this number with a lot of pride.”
#33 René Rast (Audi): “I think the #33 looks just great and in addition, remembering a number with identical digits is easier for me.”
#47 Joel Eriksson (BMW): “I raced with the #47 already in my karting days and won the Swedish kart title with his number. Therefore, I opted for it once again.”
#48 Edoardo Mortara (Mercedes-AMG): “The #48 has been accompanying me since my first motor-racing steps, in karting, and it brought me luck back then.”
#51 Nico Müller (Audi): “My cousin had the #50 on his kart when he was karting. When I became his team-mate it was logical to choose the #51. I won many kart races with this number, and later the Formula Renault title.”
#53 Jamie Green (Audi): “My dad already raced with the #53.”
#77 Loïc Duval (Audi): “Several times in my career I raced with the #7 on my car – and as the #7 wasn’t available I thought that the double seven possibly could bring me the twice the amount of luck.”
#94 Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes-AMG): “I chose the #94 as I was born in 1994 and as it looks rather cool.”
#99 Mike Rockenfeller (Audi): “The #9 is my lucky number – and so I thought: ‘Twice the 9 will be even better.'”