Here’s our list of F1 grandees who tried – and sometimes failed – to succeed in DTM.
Jean Alesi (FRA)
The Frenchman may have scored just one emotional grand prix victory – for Ferrari – at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix, but was immediately quick in DTM. During his five-season stint with Mercedes, he notched up four victories – two apiece at Donington and Hockenheim.
Jenson Button (GBR)
A left-field choice: Button joined the grid for last year’s season finale at Hockenheim as one of five guest drivers from Japan’s SUPER GT series. Driving Honda’s NSX-GT, the Briton proved instantly impressive, racking up a top-10 placing in his first-ever DTM race.
David Coulthard (GBR)
The 13-time grand prix winner rekindled his lengthy Mercedes-Benz relationship by joining the DTM in 2010. However, he failed to convert his grand prix-winning pace into tin-top success, managing a best finish of fifth (at the Norisring) during his three-season campaign.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (GER)
The German, who won grands prix for Williams and Jordan in Formula 1, made a good job of his three seasons in DTM. Most memorably, perhaps, he earned a victory of sorts in an end-of-season lawnmower race against radio commentator Volker Janitz!
Timo Glock (GER)
Despite a miserable 2019 season, fan-favourite Glock has relished his career in DTM, calling his memorable 2018 Hockenheim battle against Gary Paffett ‘the greatest race of my life’. For 2020, the five-time winner will enter his eighth season with BMW.
Mika Hakkinen (FIN)
Perhaps the archetypal ‘F1-to-DTM’ star, Hakkinen turned to the series to rekindle his thrill for racing following his McLaren retirement. His participation, too, proved the point that DTM was no pushover for a two-time world champion; he took three tin-top wins.
Nicola Larini (ITA)
He came, he saw, he conquered. The little Italian has become synonymous with the success of Alfa Romeo, and its sensational 155 V6 Ti, which dominated the sport for four seasons. Of its 41 wins during the era, Larini took a mighty 18, and the 1993 title.
Alessando Nannini (ITA)
When his F1 career was cut short by a helicopter crash that severed his right arm, Nannini quickly found his niche in touring cars. Alongside his countrymen at Alfa, he helped spearhead the marque’s DTM/ITC success, earning 14 victories in the muscular 155.
Keke Rosberg (FIN)
After bringing the curtain down on his F1 career, the Finn raced sportscar for Peugeot before opting to join DTM. He won just once – at Wunstorf in 1992 – but remains a DTM presence, lending his name to Audi Team Rosberg, which won the 2019 title with Rene Rast.
Bernd Schneider (GER)
The man whose ‘second career’ easily outshone his first. Hobbled by a string of uncompetitive Zakspeeds, Schneider’s speed and professionalism helped him dominate DTM. The series’ greatest driver, he earned a peerless five titles and 43 wins. Mr DTM, indeed…
Michael Schumacher (GER)
Michael’s DTM career never really took off – he was rather busy winning everything in Formula 1, after all – but is a memorable footnote to a remarkable career. As a youngster, he contested four races – all in Mercedes’s mighty 190E – but failed to score in any.
Ralf Schumacher (GER)
After his F1 career tailed off, Ralf enjoyed five moderately competitive seasons with Mercedes, enjoying a couple of podium finishes and a notable pole position, at the Norisring in 2010. Like many F1 graduates, he would discover that success in DTM was never a formality…
Want more? Then check out the careers of – among others – Christijan Albers, Michele Alboreto, Michael Bartels, Allen Berg, Gerhard Berger, Gianfranco Brancatelli, Johnny Cecotto, Yannick Dalmas, Christian Danner, Paul Di Resta, Giancarlo Fisichella, Olivier Grouillard, Jacques Laffitte, Nicola Larini, Pedro Lamy, Jan Magnussen, Allan McNish, Juan Pablo Montoya, Esteban Ocon, Vitaly Petrov, Emanuele Pirro, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Gabriele Tarquini, Pascal Wehrlein, Markus Winkelhock, and Manfred Winkelhock – all of whom somehow juggled successful and less-than-successful DTM and Formula 1 careers. After all, a racing driver’s life is a rich tapestry!