Last year, the Mercedes-AMG factory driver won the first DTM title in the new GT3 era for HRT, before switching to Winward Racing this season.

But from an average of 20.3 cars last season, the grid size has increased to an average of 28.25 cars per round this year, with the addition of Lamborghini and Porsche factory drivers and three-time DTM champion René Rast returning to lift bar.

Schubert’s BMW racer only Sheldon van der Linde has won more than once this year and another driver has been on pole in all eight races so far. Lamborghini is the only marque that has yet to win a race apart from Grasser Racing Mirko Bartolotti leads the standings.

Gotz had his best weekend of the season last time out at the Norrisring with a sixth-place finish and is 16th in points at the halfway point of the season.

Speaking to ahead of the Norrisring, the 36-year-old said: “It’s been a tough start to the season.

“I think the DTM in general has changed this year – it’s more difficult and it’s even harder to finish to be there all the time.

“We also saw that there were a lot of guys on the podium, so it wasn’t just one guy winning or finishing 3rd all the time.

“It’s more up and down because it’s closer and you have to be even more accurate than last year.”

Maximilian Gotz, Mercedes-AMG WINWARD team

Photo: Alexander Traynits

Gotz said he was optimistic that Mercedes could shine in the second half of the year, having only managed to win one race this year thanks to Winward’s Lucas Auer at Portimao’s season opener.

Asked what will be successful for him in the rest of the year, Gotz said: “There will be a lot of race tracks that I really like: Nürburgring, Spa, Red Bull Ring, Hockenheim I also like, so I think the season is not over yet .

“There’s still potential to get big scores, and only big scores really count. If you’re P8, 9, whatever, you’ll get some points yes, but it’s not big.

“I like the tracks that are going now, and on which Mercedes is doing quite well.

“At the end of the day, this could be a turning point.”

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