Young Indian racer Arjun Maini has become the first Indian to secure a full-time racing deal in the Germany-based DTM touring car championship. Maini, who had switched to sports car racing in 2019, will race for the Mercedes-AMG Performance Team GetSpeed in the 2021 DTM season comprising eight rounds with 16 races across Germany and Europe.
"I am absolutely delighted to be driving for Mercedes-AMG with Getspeed in DTM. My first real experience of the championship came in 2015 when I was competing in Formula 3 and we drove on the same weekend as DTM," Maini, a former Haas F1 team development driver, said on Thursday. "The atmosphere was something I had never experienced before. I feel privileged to finally live out one of my dreams. The series enjoys a fine reputation around the world and is the perfect opportunity for me to test myself against rapid GT3 drivers," he added.
Martin Schwenk, Managing Director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, said: "He will be the first Indian to compete in the DTM and it is highly satisfying to see Indian racers making their impressive mark by competing against the very best of motorsports talents across the world. "At the highest levels of internationally acclaimed motorsports events like the DTM, this accomplishment by Arjun is indeed inspiring for aspiring and budding motorsports talents in the country." GetSpeed Performance operates from the business park at the Nurburgring.
Maini started his racing career with karting in 2006. He won the Indian junior championship in 2011 and took part in the 'One from a Billion 'Hunt, which was run by former Formula 1 team Force India. As the winner, he was given the opportunity to race karts in Europe. In 2013, he switched to single-seater racing, in which he enjoyed success in the F4 British Championship. Maini's career took him, via the Formula 3 European Championship and the GP3 Series, into the FIA Formula 2 Championship, in which he drove in 2018 and 2019 but without much luck and success.
In 2019-2020, he raced in the European Le Mans Series and in the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans. The DTM will feature GT3 cars for the first time in 2021. A race weekend comprises two free practice sessions on the Friday, followed by a qualifying and a one-hour race – including a pit stop – on both the Saturday and the Sunday. The opening round of the season takes place from from 18-20 June in Monza, Italy.