On Wednesday, DTM made a surprising announcement when it confirmed that the championship would host a round of the revamped 2020 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. It marks the return of the championship to the Belgian track for the first time in 15 years.
When the series last raced at Spa, on 15 May 2005, a familiar face was at the forefront. Double Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen, out of F1 since 2001, was in his first year of DTM with HWA Team. At the same track where he won the Belgian Grand Prix in 2000, the Flying Finn found the top step once again when he took his first of three DTM victories.
Hakkinen was by no means the only big hitter in the 2005 DTM season. His team-mates at HWA included Bernd Schneider, who had already won four DTM titles and would add a fifth the following year, as well as eventual 2005 champion Gary Paffett and fellow F1 veteran Jean Alesi. Other Mercedes drivers included Bruno Spengler and Jamie Green.
Audi’s eight-car line-up was nothing short of an all-star squad in 2005. The Team Abt Sportsline team featured 2004 champion Mattias Ekström, Martin Tomczyk, Mr. Le Mans Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, while Christian Abt, Pierre Kaffer, Rinaldo Capello and Frank Stippler drove for Team Joest.
Opel, meanwhile, employed Heinz-Harald Frentzen, future Le Mans winner Marcel Fässler and 2002 champion and Le Mans winner Laurent Aiëllo. It would also be Opel’s final season in the championship, leaving after 2005.