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Q & A with David Coulthard

Tuesday, August 24 2010

Former F1 driver David Coulthard faces a trio of challenges when the DTM Touring Car Championship visits Brands Hatch on 3/4/5 September, as the Scotsman's appearance marks his first UK race since the end of his Grand Prix career, his first DTM event on home soil and his first competitive outing at the Kent circuit in almost twenty years.

Ahead of the race weekend, Coulthard took part in an exclusive Q & A session, reflecting on life after F1 and his debut season in the DTM.

Was it always your intention to compete in the DTM this year?
DC: "I had it in mind that I'd race something again, but it was never a plan that I'd take a year out and then definitely race in the DTM. I knew when my time in Formula One had come to an end, and DTM ticked the boxes for what I want - the adrenaline of pushing myself to the limit and the aspect of being part of a team.

How have you found the transition from Formula One to DTM?
"It's completely alien from everything I've known in my career - in single seaters, everything's built around the driver, whereas in touring cars you're set off to one side.

"I liken it to someone who plays tennis being given a squash racket; it's essentially the same but subtly different, and just because you're good at tennis doesn't mean you're good at squash. The challenge for me is to see whether I can become good at this type of racing.

What are your first impressions of DTM?
"DTM is a very big championship, it gets 100,000 people turn up to some of the races, which is significantly more than some Grands Prix. The racing's close and so is the paddock access - with a pass you can into the paddock and up close to the cars, which you never get with Grand Prix racing.

What are your thoughts on your performance so far this season?
"Apart from at Zandvoort last time out, my qualifying has been improving and I'm getting closer and closer to mid grid, which is not too bad for a 2008 car.

Are you planning to extend your DTM contract into 2011?
"It would be a shame having learnt some of the tracks this season not to use that knowledge next year. However it's something for Norbert (Haug) and I to sit down and talk about, and I haven't had that conversation with him yet.

McLaren test driver Gary Paffett and Force India Reserve driver Paul di Resta are two of your DTM rivals - what are your thoughts on them?
"Gary Paffett and Paul di Resta are two stars of the series. They're both young and would definitely be good drivers if they had the opportunity in Formula One.

Do you think Brands Hatch could see a British winner?
"There's every likelihood of a British winner at Brands Hatch, it's unlikely it'll be me but you never know! I'd like to hype it up and say I'll go for the podium but I'm on a journey of discovery. There are guys in the series that are committed racers and are chasing championships, but I'm just enjoying the opportunity to learn about being a touring car driver.

What are your thoughts on racing at Brands Hatch?
"I haven't been to Brands Hatch since 1991, when I won two races in Formula 3. It's strange coming back here, especially in a DTM car. I never imagined at that stage in my career all those years ago that I'd be racing at Brands Hatch in a touring car!

"Some circuits you have to drive with your fingertips and be super smooth, but with Brands Hatch you can really attack the corners. It's a short lap and at Paddock Hill Bend you can't quite see the apex. It's a natural amphitheatre and there's a lot of history in the racing; being here takes you back to the days of Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart.

Discounted tickets for the DTM German Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on 3/4/5 September are now on sale from just £25 for adults, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information c