- Full name Gary Paffett
- Birth date March 24, 1981
- Current age 34 years 252 days
- Teams McLaren
Gary Paffett is a recognisable name in Formula One despite the Briton never having entered a grand prix. Paffett took to karting at the age of nine and was soon signed up by karting guru Martin Hines to race for his team. He won national titles before moving in to single seaters in 1997, and made a real name for himself the following year when he won the Formula Vauxhall Junior B Class championship in dominant fashion, even setting a track record in the B Class car along the way.
After four titles in four years Paffett won the 1999 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award, which led to a test drive with McLaren the following year. He impressed the team so much he has continued to test for McLaren ever since.
Along with his McLaren duties Paffett continued to race in single seaters and won the British Formula 3 Scholarship Class in 2000 and German Formula 3 championship two years later. Backed by Mercedes he saw an F3000 drive disappear in 2003 when his team hit financial difficulties, but he moved in to DTM instead, finishing runner-up in his first full season before securing the championship in 2005.
After winning the DTM title Paffett left to focus fully on McLaren testing duties in the hope of earning a race seat, but the emergence of Lewis Hamilton prevented that and he returned to DTM in 2007, finishing as runner-up in 2009 and 2010.