Liam Lawson finished fourth fastest and just three-tenths off the pace in his first official DTM test day at Hockenheim.
The 19-year-old New Zealander was greeted with snow and sleet at the German circuit. The extreme weather conditions truncating most of the afternoon sessions.
Still, Lawson managed to put in the fourth-best lap of the day during a dry patch in the weather. He finished behind the Haupt-Mercedes duo and fellow DTM newcomer Kelvin van der Linde in the Abt Audi.
The day was also the first running for the new GT3-based cars that will form the 2021 championship, following the end of the Class One era.
Lawson’s best time – a 1:36.897 – was 0.307s adrift of pacesetter Maximilian Gotz.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Albon was steering the sister AF Corsa Ferrari and was running second for most of the morning.
Albon would eventually slip to sixth quickest by the end of the day, two-tenths slower than teammate Lawson.
Albon will be sharing driving duties this year with Kiwi ace Nick Cassidy, who is currently in Rome ahead of round two of the Formula E world championship.
Splitting Lawson and Albon was two-time DTM runners-up Nico Müller who is driving the Team Rosberg Audi R8.
A total of 18 drivers took to the Hockenheim circuit, with 15 GT3 cars hitting the track.
The four manufacturers at the test were Audi, BMW, Ferrari and Mercedes. A single McLaren 720s entry for former Grand Prix driver Christian Klien will join the series at three rounds this year.
Notable names among the field include two-time DTM champion Gary Paffett, former Toyota Racing Series race winner Lucas Auer and 20-year-old Sophia Flörsch.
Lawson was the youngest driver in the field, and his debut DTM outing comes just two weeks after claiming his maiden Formula 2 race win in Bahrain.
The second day of the Hockenheim test gets underway tonight NZT, with chilly temperatures of less than 10 degrees expected once again.
|Kelvin van der Linde
|Sheldon van der Linde