Coulthard signs up for DTM

Thirteen-time grand prix winner David Coulthard is following the likes of Jean Alesi, Mika Häkkinen and Ralf Schumacher into the DTM.

The 39-year-old Scotsman (left), who called time on his Formula 1 career at the end of 2008, will race for Mercedes in the German-based touring car series. Coulthard attended last year’s DTM finale at Hockenheim and then tested a Merc C-Class (above) earlier this year.

Coulthard, who raced Mercedes-engined McLarens from 1996-2004, said he “got the buzz again for competition” during his visit to Hockenheim.

“I always said I wasn’t hanging up my helmet for good because I didn’t believe I was over racing,” he added. “I just knew my time as an F1 driver had reached its natural conclusion. If I can do a championship that fits with my other commitments and I get the buzz in a racing car, then why not take it?”

Coulthard, who was due to kick off his campaign in a 2008-spec C-Class run by Mücke Motorsport at Hockenheim on April 25, is the latest in a line of ex-F1 drivers to take the DTM challenge. Alesi and Häkkinen both won races in the series, while Schumacher and Markus Winkelhock are the other ex-F1 drivers racing alongside Coulthard this year.

The old DTM of the 1980s-90s was also home to superannuated F1 stars. Hans Stuck was champion in 1990, beating fellow ex-F1 racer Johnny Cecotto.