Drivers you probably never thought that they ever raced in DTM
Let's begin with the most interesting names! Not many people know that Michael Schumacher's famous manager, Willi Weber was a racing driver in the past. Weber was a big motorsport fan, so in 1983 he founded his Formula 3 team WTS, and since he was managing his teams and many talented drivers (for example the Schumacher brothers) he discovered. Besides that, he also participated in few races in German F3, but once he also entered a single DTM event in the series' first ever season, 1984! Weber took part in the final round of the season at the Nurburgring, and he was the only one in DTM's history who has raced with a Volkswagen Scirocco. He finished his only DTM race in 16th position, which is quite good, as more than 30 drivers per race attended those times. Unfortunately there aren't many photos from the very first years of DTM, so I can't show you Weber's Scirocco, however a great fan-made database on DTM made a nice graphics of how that Scirocco looked like. UPDATE: Now I found a proper racing photo of Weber's and the Scirocco's first and only participation in DTM.
The former Ferrari and McLaren driver was at the beginning of his F1 career -racing at Arrows- when he took part in his only DTM race which was the 1985 season opener in Zolder. He drove a BMW 635 CSi and finished 8th. Unfortunately that's all we know, but it's still great to know that the new DTM boss was a former driver not just in F1, but in 'his' series as well.
You know, Hermann Tilke is the man who designed almost every circuits in the F1 calendar. Well, not almost all, but many, such as the Red Bull Ring and the COTA, but also the ones in Sepang, Bahrain, Shanghai, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Sochi, and Baku. Tilke not just likes designing the tracks, but he also took part in some races many occasions. One of them was in 1987, at a DTM race in Zolder, and he was driving a Toyota Corolla. However, only we know is that he didn't score a point, but nothing more, even the position. As expected, no photo was taken, though that's how a Toyota Corolla DTM car looked like in 1987. In the photo Reinhard Schall is driving the Corolla in Zolder.
Years before his tragic fatal accident in Formula 1, the young Austrian also participated in a DTM round at the Nurburgring in 1989. He was driving a Mercedes, and haven't scored a point. Below, it's the only photo ever taken of him in DTM, you can easily recognize Roland by his iconic Austrian flag-colored helmet.
Yes, probably Michael Schumacher is the first name came to your mind when you read the title, and as he is on the cover photo too, it's 100% sure :D. Every big fan of the German legend knows that before his great Formula 1 career, Schumi participated in some DTM races with Mercedes-AMG. Although his results was not as bright as later in Formula 1, he still played a very important role in his first appearance in DTM back in 1990. He only took part in the Hockenheim season finale that year, and in his first ever DTM race, just after the start, he collided championship leader Johnny Cecotto. As a result both of them were out of the race, and the Venezuelan was also out of the title chase as well. All these led Hans-Joachim Stuck and Audi to win the title, and at that moment Cecotto's favourite driver was not Schumacher for sure. A year later Michael also tried himself in touring car racing at the Norisring and Diepholz, but his best result was a 14th place. Later in 1991 at the Belgian GP Michael could make his debut in Formula 1, and it was a beginning of something legendary in motorsport history. Although he didn't have much success there, it's still something very special for DTM to have Michael in their driver database.
We can also watch some archive footage of Michael's DTM adventure in DTM's throwback video, made for Schumi's birthday.
The legendary 2 times World Rally Champion also tried himself in DTM, of course with the Audi V8 Quattro. He entered only some rounds in 1990 and 1991, but immediately was on top as he finished his first ever DTM race 2nd place. It was followed by four more podium finishes, including a win at the Nurburgring in 1990.
The 1982 Formula 1 World Champion was not only a driver in DTM, but he still is a team owner! As a driver he was racing in the series from 1992 to 1995; in his first year with Mercedes, and for the rest he switched to Opel. In 1992 he even scored a pole position, fastest laps, and a win, so he ended up 5th in the standings. The Opel years however was not this successful, so he founded his own team, Team Rosberg, and entered it to DTM in 1995. One of his drivers was himself of course, but in the other car was driven by a real DTM legend, Klaus Ludwig. After ending up 18th in the standings, he announced his retirement and he focuses only on managing Team Rosberg ever since. He also enters his team to the "reborn DTM" since 2000, at first with Mercedeses, but from 2006 he runs Audis.
I admit, that my first thought was when Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from F1 last December, that soon or later we might see him at his father's team in DTM, but as Nico still is a Mercedes employee (ambassador), we can be sure that besides that role he won't drive an Audi RS5 :P.
The Italian spent many memorable years in Formula 1, but before that Fisico raced two seasons in DTM with Alfa Romeo. Although he never won a DTM race, he was among the top drivers with scoring many podium finishes. After his first season in 1995, when he ended up 15th in DTM and 10th in ITC, his podium finishes became more usual for the following year, so that meant a 6th place in overall, which is quite good. From 1997 he got a permanent F1 seat, and over his long career he raced at teams like Jordan (1 race win), Benetton, Sauber, Renault (2 race wins), Force India and Ferrari.
The IndyCar legend also raced in DTM trough the 1995-96 seasons, but he really achieved some great results with a Mercedes-AMG. The Scotsman's best result was a win in Suzuka at his last DTM weekend, but besides that he also had many podium finishes, so he ended 1995 on 5th, and 1996 on 4th place. In paralel with the 1995 DTM season he also participated in ITC where in the end he came 3rd in overall including a win in his debut weekend in Mugello! Well done! No question why this man won later the Indianapolis 500 3 times and became an IndyCar champion 4 times. What a legend!
Juan Pablo Montoya
The Colombian, who recently won the Champion of Champions title (at RoC) next to his great successes in F1, NASCAR and IndyCar also took part in a DTM round in Silverstone back in 1996, a way before he get well-known in open-wheel racing. He was driving a Mercedes C-Class, but haven't done anything memorable as he retired in both races. But some years later he became a superstar with winning both the 1999 CART championship and the Indy500 in 2000 as a rookie! This performance was a straight ticket to a top team in F1, and he won there 7 GPs including Monaco whilst racing at such teams like Williams and McLaren.
Fun Fact: Montoya's DTM car is actually ON SALE now! So if you were already thinking about to buy a new car, you may visit the site below:
The Brazilian IndyCar hero, champion, and Indy500 winner also participated in DTM in 1996, when the series was a part of the International Touring Car Championship. Like Montoya, Kanaan took part in only one round as well, and only in the one which came to his home country, Brazil. He was driving an Opel, and there comes an other similarity to Montoya's DTM career: he finished neither of the two races, just like the Colombian.
There was no photos taken of Tony, but a model car was made of his "beautiful" Opel Calibra V6.
The 2 times F1 World Champion is another very big name who ever raced in DTM. The Flying Finn drove a Mercedes C-Class for 3 years, 2005-2007, and almost immediately scored his first podium and race win. He finished 3rd on his second DTM race in the Lausitzring, and on the next weekend he was victorious in Spa! What a way to start! Over the three seasons Mika hasn't become a title contender, but still stood on the podium many times and won 3 races. His best championship result was a 5th place in 2005, and he finished the other two seasons in 6th and 8th positions. But one thing is for sure: Mika's time in DTM definitely had a great effect on the series, and I think the Flying Finn also enjoyed the adventure as well.
Few months after Ralf retired from Formula 1 at the end of 2007, he announced that he will start the next season with Mercedes-AMG in DTM. Ralf raced in the series for 5 years, but only could score a podium finish two times, both in 2011. He achieved his best championship result also in that year, he came 8th overall. In the end of 2012 both Michael and Ralf Schumacher retired from racing, and since then Ralf manages the family gokart team, KSM Schumacher Motorsports, and also give advice to ADAC F4 team US Racing.