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giugno 28, 2022 - Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Classic at Le Mans Classic 2022: Motor racing successes in France since 1894

Comunicato Stampa disponibile solo in lingua originale. 

  • 70 years ago: Double victory in the 300 SL #racing sports car at the “24 Hours of Le Mans”
  • 1894: First ever motorsport events in France – first victories in the brand’s history
  • Highlights from the successful Mercedes-Benz tradition at the Le Mans Classic
  • Original automobiles in action and on display – plus interviews with #racing drivers

Stuttgart. The brand’s motor #racing successes in France since 1894: this is the theme of Mercedes-Benz Classic’s extensive presence at the Le Mans Classic 2022. The event will take place from 30 June to 3 July 2022 on the original site of the “24 Hours of Le Mans” and will celebrate the history of this most famous endurance race in the world. With more than twenty vehicles from all eras of the brand’s history, former #racing drivers and numerous other attractions, #mercedesbenzclassic is offering visitors a varied programme. One focus is on “70 Years of the SL” – with the double victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1952 as an important milestone both in the history of the legendary sports car and in the motorsport history of the brand. Mercedes-Benz is the Official Sponsor of the Le Mans Classic.

The tenth edition of the Le Mans Classic, launched in 2002 by Peter #auto and organised in collaboration with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, offers an impressive review of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With 800 racing cars on the track, 8,500 historic cars on display and numerous club presentations, it is one of the largest classic events in the world. The competitions will take place in line-ups arranged by era, and of course also continue through the night – in other words, with a real long-distance spirit. Part of the attraction for participants and visitors alike is the dress code: “sporty chic” from all eras is desired and gives the Le Mans Classic a casual elegance in addition to the motorsport flair. With each edition, the event has attracted more fans. Most recently, around 195,000 visitors came in 2018.

Double victory at Le Mans some 70 years ago

Some 70 years ago, Mercedes-Benz achieved an outstanding triumph at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: a double victory. On 15 June 1952, two 300 SL #racing sports cars (W 194) crossed the finish line one after the other. This and other double, triple and quadruple victories put the first SL directly in the limelight in the 1952 season and at the same time positioned the brand back on the stage of international motorsport after the Second World War. This initial spark gave rise to the production version, the 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), just two years later. The fascination with the SL has remained unbroken ever since and has continued to develop successfully over seven decades. Today, the new Mercedes-AMG SL (R 232), developed entirely by AMG, transports the genes of the SL legend into the future.

At Le Mans, #mercedesbenzclassic will celebrate the SL history with numerous vehicles, from the original W 194 dating from 1952 to the latest generation, the Mercedes-AMG SL (R 232) presented in 2021. Other early SL models will complete the presentation: the 300 SL “Gullwing”, 300 SL Roadster and the 300 SLS motorsport version (all W 198). In addition, media representatives will have access to a driving pool of SLs from all eras plus additional vehicles to mark the anniversaries of “50 years of the S-Class 116 series” and the “40 years of the Mercedes-Benz W 201”, which can be driven on routes outside the event grounds.

A highlight at the #mercedesbenzclassic stand right next to a current Mercedes-AMG SL 63 4MATIC+ (total fuel consumption (WLTP) (combined): 13.0–12.5 l/100 km; total CO2 emissions (WLTP (combined): 294-282 g/km) will be a 300 SL Roadster (W 198) dating from 1960. The vehicle comes from the #mercedesbenzclassic sales offer. It has undergone a factory restoration and is in top condition. The Roadster is finished in the rare colour combination of Mercedes blue with red leather and a light grey soft top, while the hardtop is painted in the body colour.

Original vehicles in action and on display

Among other things, the 300 SL #racing sports car will once again be in action on the race track at Le Mans Classic. The silver Coupé will put in an appearance at the #mercedesbenzclassic stand to round off the presentation of other original vehicles and exhibits relating to the brand’s motorsport successes in France. Highlights of the motorsport history in France include:

  • Daimler two-cylinder engine, 1894. The first automobile competition in history in July 1894 from Paris to Rouen was won by vehicles with this engine, manufactured under licence by Panhard & Levassor.
  • Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp, 1902. In the years 1901 to 1903, Mercedes dominated with this model, among others, in the “Weeks of Nice” with high-profile motorsport competitions.
  • Mercedes Grand Prix #racing car, 1914. In the 750-kilometre race for the 1914 French Grand Prix in Lyon, Christian Lautenschlager, Louis Wagner and Otto Salzer achieved a triumphant triple victory in cars of this model.
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL #racing sports car (W 194). At the 24 Hours of #lemans in 1952, Hermann Lang / Fritz Riess and Theo Helfrich / Helmut Niedermayr achieved a double victory for the brand in this model.
  • Mercedes-Benz Formula One #racing car W 196 R with streamlined body. It was in this Silver Arrow that Mercedes-Benz returned to Grand Prix #racing in 1954 after an interruption of 15 years. In the car’s very first race on 4 July 1954 in Rheims, Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling posted a spectacular one-two finish. Following three more victories, Fangio finished the season as Formula One World Champion.
  • Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201) “Supertourisme”. From 1985 to 1987, Snobeck #racing Service (SRS) entered the sixteen-valve model in the French Touring Car Championship. These entries also paved the way for Mercedes-Benz to return to motorsport. From 1988, SRS also competed in the DTM as a development team with the 190 E 2.3-16.
  • Sauber-Mercedes C 9 Group C #racing sports car. On 11 June 1989, this Silver Arrow took a one-two in the 24 Hours of #lemans (Stanley Dickens / #jochenmass / Manuel Reuter; Kenny Acheson / Mauro Baldi / Gianfranco Brancatelli). Another vehicle came in fifth place. At the end of the season, Jean-Louis Schlesser won the drivers’ title in the World Sports Car Championship in the C 9.
  • McLaren-Mercedes MP4-15. Driving the MP4-15 designed for the 2000 Formula One season, Mika Häkkinen won four races out of 17 Grands Prix. David Coulthard achieved three victories, including the French Grand Prix at the Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours – a one-two victory with Mika Häkkinen.
  • Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ Formula One #racing car, 2018. This car led the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team to its fifth double triumph in a row. Lewis Hamilton drove to his fifth drivers’ world championship, and the team secured the constructors’ world championship once again. Lewis Hamilton won the French Grand Prix in June 2018 in the F1 W09 EQ Power+.

Racing driver interviews and engine start-ups

The brand’s varied programme in terms of vehicle presentations includes interviews with former #racing drivers #ellenlohr, #klausludwig, #jochenmass, #kurtthiim and #karlwendlinger. What were their biggest successes for the brand? In which vehicles? How did they experience Mercedes-Benz in their time? These, among others, are the questions that they will face. Those wishing to delve deeper into the motorsport history of Mercedes-Benz in France can take part in stand tours around the vehicles. Three #racing cars from three eras will be allowed to sound out there regularly: the engines of the Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL #racing sports car and Sauber-Mercedes C 9 will be regularly started for demonstration purposes. A “Pitstop Challenge” with a timed wheel change on an original DTM vehicle, as well as #racing simulators, will round off the programme at the #mercedesbenzclassic stand. And those wanting to look out onto the race track from there will find space in the deckchairs with a view of the action on the circuit.

The #mercedesbenzclassic Brand Ambassadors at the Le Mans Classic 2022

Ellen Lohr

Born on 12 April 1965 in Mönchengladbach, Germany

Ellen Lohr came to motorsport from karting, in which she was active from 1979 to 1983. Her greatest successes were participating in the Junior Kart World Championship and claiming a first-place title in the North-West German Kart Championship. After competing in the German Formula Ford 1600 series (German Champion in 1987) and initial races in the DTM (BMW) and the German Formula 3 Championship with Volkswagen in 1989/90, she was signed up by the AMG-Mercedes team for the German Touring Car Championship. #ellenlohr was the first and ─ to this day ─ only woman to clinch a DTM victory: On 24 May 1992, she was victorious in the first race at the #racing festival in Hockenheim at the wheel of an AMG-Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II. For the 1995 season, she moved to the Mercedes-Zakspeed team, and in 1996 drove for the AMG-Mercedes Persson MS team. In 1997, she competed in the European Truck #racing Championship at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz #racing truck. From then on, #ellenlohr continued to be actively involved in numerous other #racing series, including the Paris–Dakar Rally (as of 2005) and once again in truck #racing (as of 2012). In 2019, #ellenlohr competed in the Nascar Whelen Euro Series.

Klaus Ludwig

Born on 5 October 1949 in Bonn, Germany

Honoured with the title of “King Ludwig” by his fans, the outstanding #racing driver and three-time DTM champion #klausludwig began his motor #racing career in the early 1970s with slalom races, orientation rallies and touring car races. His first major successes included the German Motor #racing Championship (DRM) title in 1979 and 1981, and victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979, 1984 and 1985. Ludwig came to the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in 1985, where he initially drove for Ford and won his first title in 1988. In 1989, he moved to the AMG-Mercedes team, with which he won two championship titles (1992 and 1994, runner-up in 1991) and a total of 19 race victories in the years up to 1994. In 1995 and 1996, he competed in the ITC (International Touring Car Championship) for Opel Team Rosberg. He subsequently returned to AMG-Mercedes, winning the driver and team trophy in the International FIA GT Championship together with Ricardo Zonta in 1998. Afterwards, he officially retired from motorsports. In 2000, however, he made a comeback and competed in the new German Touring Car Masters (DTM), ending the season and his #racing career with a third-place finish in the overall standings driving a Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM.

Jochen Mass

Born on 30 September 1946 in Dorfen near Erding, Germany

Jochen Mass, originally a trained seaman, began his diverse career in motor sport in 1968 in touring car races for Alfa Romeo and as a works driver for Ford from 1970 to 1975. During this period he won the 24 hours of Spa-Francorchamps in 1972. At the same time, he also took part in Formula 2 #racing (1973) and competed in 105 Formula One Grands Prix (1973/74 with Surtees; 1975 to 1977 with McLaren; 1978 with ATS; 1979/80 with Arrows; 1982 with March). In 1984, Mass drove a Mercedes-Benz 500 SLC (C 107) in the Paris–Dakar Rally. After winning the German Sports Car Championship in 1985 and a stint as a works driver with Porsche until 1987, he joined the Sauber-Mercedes team as a works driver in 1988. He competed in Group C for the same team until 1991. In the new Silver Arrow, the Sauber-Mercedes C 9, #jochenmass triumphed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1989 in the same team as Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens, going on to finish runner-up in the world championship in the same year. Three years later, Mass joined the team management of the DTM. Sir Stirling Moss once described him as a “soul mate” and as “a driver with an enormous feeling for #racing cars and a great deal of expertise who is familiar with the #racing history of every era”. It is therefore not by chance that #jochenmass can nowadays be seen at the wheel for Mercedes-Benz at historical events. From the W 125 Silver Arrow to the Mercedes-Benz SSK – #jochenmass knew and drove them all.

Kurt Thiim

Born on 3 August 1958 in Vojens, Denmark

The Dane #kurtthiim began his motor sport career in 1974 with kart #racing (Danish karting champion in 1985) and outings in Formula Ford 1600. His victories took him up the ladder as far as Formula 3, from where Thiim switched to touring car #racing, winning the 1986 German Touring Car Championship in a Rover Vitesse. After that, he firmly established himself in Mercedes-Benz vehicles, going on to drive for AMG-Mercedes from the middle of the 1988 season. Up to 1991, he achieved good finishes and individual victories, first for AMG-Mercedes and then, from 1992, for Zakspeed-Mercedes (1992 vice champion). He later drove for the UPS team in an AMG-Mercedes. In 1991, Thiim also took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Sauber-Mercedes C 11, in a team with Stanley Dickens and Jonathan Palmer. However, the vehicle dropped out in the course of the race. He belonged to Mercedes-Benz’s #racing squad until 1997, after which he drove for various teams and in different championships.

Karl Wendlinger

Born on 20 December, 1968 in Kufstein, Austria

Karl Wendlinger’s motor sport career began in go-karting at the age of 14. In 1989, he won the German Formula 3 Championship. In 1990 to 1991, the Austrian was a member of the Mercedes Junior Team, along with Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, and competed in the sports car world championship. In 1991 he graduated to Formula One. From 1994 Wendlinger drove for the Sauber-Mercedes team together with Heinz-Harald Frentzen. This was followed by periods in DTM, Formula 3000 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His main successes on the track included winning the FIA GT Championship (1999), finishing first in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTS class (in the same year), overall victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000 and second place in the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring (2003). From 2004 to 2011, #karlwendlinger competed for various teams in the FIA GT Championship. With Jetalliance #racing, he finished runner-up in 2007. Since 2012, #karlwendlinger has been a Mercedes-AMG brand ambassador and instructor at the AMG Driving Academy.

The #mercedesbenzclassic vehicles at the Le Mans Classic 2022

Mercedes-Benz motorsport successes in France

The “24 Hours of Le Mans” is the most exciting endurance race in the world. The spectacular double victory there in 1952, 70 years ago with the 300 SL #racing sports car (W 194), and another double victory in 1989 with the Sauber-Mercedes C 9 – these are two of the great successes of Mercedes-Benz in France. There are numerous other points of connection to our neighbouring country: among other things, the world’s first car race in 1894 from Paris to Rouen, the exciting “Nice Weeks” directly after the turn of the century with the first Mercedes and the Mercedes Simplex, the sensational triple victory at the French Grand Prix in 1914 and the equally outstanding double victory at the French Grand Prix in Reims in 1954 still make motorsport hearts beat faster today.

Daimler two-cylinder engine (1894)

Deployment: Exhibition

The V-twin engine Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach developed in 1888 formed the drivetrain of the “Daimler Motor-Quadricycle”, also known as the “Stahlradwagen” (steel-wheeled car), a vehicle showcased at the Paris Exhibition in 1889. In 1894, this engine also formed the basis for the origins of motorsport: in the Paris-Rouen race, the first car competition in history in July 1894, vehicles from Peugeot and Panhard & Levassor won the first prizes – as they did in June 1895 in the first car race in the modern sense with speed classification from Paris–Bordeaux–Paris. The winning cars featured the V-twin engine designed by Daimler and Maybach, which was manufactured by Panhard & Levassor under licence. The engine installed in the Daimler “steel-wheeled car” originally had an output of 1.1 kW (1.5 hp) and an engine size of 565 cc. Later variants, such as those used in the first races, delivered up to 2.75 kW (3.75 hp) from engines up to 1,646 cc.

Technical data – Daimler two-cylinder V-engine

Deployment: 1889 to 1896

Cylinders: 2/V-shape

Displacement: Up to 1,646 cc

Output: Up to 2.75 kW (3.75 hp)

Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp, 1902

Deployment: Exhibition – Engine Start

The 40 PS Mercedes-Simplex was launched in March 1902, superseding the legendary Mercedes 35 hp. The add-on “Simplex” was intended to indicate how easy the new model was to operate for its time. Its direct predecessor was the first to define the motor car’s distinctive shape. Characteristic features are the elongated design, the lightweight high-performance engine mounted low in the frame and the radiator organically integrated into the front, which, as a honeycomb radiator, becomes the brand’s distinctive mark. The Mercedes 35 hp marked the end of the “horse-drawn carriage” style that had dominated the industry and it is thus considered to be the first modern car. The “Mercédès era” ushered in by this was characterised by a passion for innovation, visionary drive and technical creativity. There is a parallel here to today: Mercedes-Benz is now once again applying the same values to advance the future of mobility.

The Mercedes 35 hp and also the Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp dominated the “Nice Weeks” from 1901 to 1903, at that time the most important motorsport event of all and a magnet for international high society. At the same time, the successes lay an important foundation: Mercedes-Benz is the oldest luxury car manufacturer in the world.

The Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp presented from the collection of #mercedesbenzclassic is one of the oldest surviving vehicles of the Mercedes brand. It shows the future of the car as it was presented at the start of the 20th century.

Technical data – Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp

Production period: 1902 to 1905

Cylinders: 4/inline

Displacement: 6,785 cc

Output: 29 kW (40 hp) at 1,050 rpm

Top speed: 75 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL #racing sports car (W 194), 1952

Deployment: Dynamic (ride)

Mercedes-Benz re-entered motor #racing in 1952 with the 300 SL (W 194). The limited resources initially spoke against the development of a #racing car for Formula One in 1952, because new regulations had already been announced for the 1954 season. Axles, transmission and engine of the new #racing car were developed from components stemming from the Mercedes-Benz 300 (W 186) representation vehicle. A brand new feature is an extremely lightweight, yet very torsionally stiff tubular frame, which is enclosed by a streamlined light-alloy body. As a result of the elevated tubular frame around the doors, the #racing car was equipped with characteristic gullwing doors which were hinged on the roof. In 1952, the 300 SL was successful from the outset: amongst its major #racing victories were the one-two-three victory at the Grand Prix of Bern (Switzerland), spectacular one-two finishes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (France) and at the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico as well as the top four positions in the Nürburgring Jubilee Grand Prix.

Hermann Lang/Fritz Rieß and Theo Helfrich/Helmut Niedermayr complete the one-two at Le Mans in 1952. The original 300 SL #racing sports car with chassis number 5, now presented at Le Mans Classic, was used by the brand 70 years ago in the Carrera Panamericana, among other events (Hermann Lang/Erwin Grupp: second place in the double victory behind Karl Kling/Hans Klenk) and in the Mille Miglia (Rudolf Caracciola/Peter Kurrle: 4th place behind Karl Kling/Hans Klenk in 2nd place).

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 300 SL #racing sports car (W 194)

Deployment: 1952

Cylinders: 6/inline

Displacement: 2,996 cc

Output: 125 kW (170 hp) at 5,200 rpm

Top speed: 240 km/h

Mercedes-Benz Formula One #racing car W 196 R with streamlined body, 1955

Deployment: Exhibition

The W 196 R marked Mercedes-Benz’s return to Grand Prix #racing in 1954 following a 15-year break. The new Silver Arrow’s design complied with a new rule that had just come into force, stipulating a maximum engine size of 2.5 litres. In the car’s very first race on 4 July 1954 in Rheims, Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling posted a spectacular one-two finish. Designed for fast race tracks, the futuristic looking vehicle featured a streamlined body – the same as the body on show. Following three more victories, Fangio finished the season as Formula One World Champion. However, in most of the Formula One races in 1954 and 1955, it was not the streamlined version, but rather the version with open wheels that was used. This version was more suitable for winding tracks as the driver always had the front wheels in view. Fangio won the Italian Grand Prix in Monza in September 1955 with the more powerful version of the streamlined vehicle to claim the World Championship once again at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz Formula One #racing car W 196 R

Deployment: 1954 to 1955

Cylinders: 8/inline

Displacement: 2,497 cc

Output: 188 kW (256 hp) at 8,250 rpm to 213 kW (290 hp) at 8,500 rpm

Top speed: Up to 300 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201) “Supertourisme”, 1986

Deployment: Exhibition

The Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 appeared in September 1983 as the top sporty model in the compact W 201 model series. Thanks to the four-valve-per-cylinder design its output is 163 kW (185 hp). From the outside, the 190 E 2.3-16, which was available in smoke silver and blue black metallic, is most recognisable from its wing spoiler on the boot lid. Even before its premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show, this model with its sixteen-valve engine had demonstrated its performance capability and stability with a record-breaking achievement in August 1983: three standard 190 E 2.3-16s set long-distance world records of 25,000 kilometres, 25,000 miles and 50,000 kilometres at average speeds of almost 250 km/h on the circuit in Nardò in southern Italy. At the inaugural race of the new Nürburgring on 12 May 1984, 20 identical near-series 190 E 2.3-16 cars compete. Equipped with a roll cage, they were driven competitively on the newly opened track by top drivers of the time. The winner of the race was Ayrton Senna. He was 24 years old at the time and already making a name for himself as the greatest up-and-coming talent in Formula One.

Further race entries of the sixteen-valve model soon followed, e.g. from 1985 to 1987 in the French Touring Car Championship by the Snobeck #racing Service (SRS) team. The national regulations give the #racing team of three-time “Supertourisme” champion Dany Snobeck a lot of freedom, and Mercedes-Benz France provides promotional support for the events. Dany Snobeck and Alain Cudini win some races, but no championship title. These stints also pave the way back into Mercedes-Benz motorsport. From 1988 onwards, SRS competed in the DTM as a development team with the 190 E 2.3-16, returning to the French championship in 1991. Furthermore, from 1991 onwards, SRS competed in the ice #racing series “Trophée Andros”, which Dany Snobeck won in 1991/1992 and 1992/1993 with the Mercedes-Benz 190 E.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201) “Supertourisme”

Production period: 1984 to 1988

Cylinders: 4/inline

Displacement: 2,299 cc

Output: 228 kW (310 hp)

Top speed: Around 260 km/h

Sauber-Mercedes C 9 Group C #racing sports car, 1989

Deployment: Exhibition – Engine Start

The late 1980s were dominated by Mercedes-Benz’s return to the race track: Group C #racing cars were the first to bear the star. The Sauber Mercedes C 9, which have been used mainly in dark blue livery since 1987, also undergo a visual change for the 1989 season: from now on they were painted in silver to clearly identify them as Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows. In 1989 alone, the new #racing cars came out top in eight of their nine races. One of those was the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 10 and 11 June 1989: Mercedes-Benz drivers Jochen Mass/Manuel Reuter/Stanley Dickens and Mauro Baldi/Kenny Acheson/Gianfranco Brancatelli raced to a one-two finish in the two C 9 Silver Arrows – 37 years after the outstanding success with the first Silver Arrows, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL #racing car (W 194), achieved after the Second World War. At the end of the season, Jean-Louis Schlesser won the Sportscar World Championship in the C 9.

Technical data – Sauber-Mercedes C 9 Group C #racing sports car

Deployment: 1987 to 1990

Cylinders: V8

Displacement: 4,973 cc

Output: 530 kW (720 hp) at 7,000 rpm

Top speed: 400 km/h

McLaren-Mercedes MP4-15, 2000

Deployment: Exhibition

The roles have been clearly distributed roles between McLaren and Mercedes-Benz since the partnership began in 1995. In Woking, McLaren designs the #racing car, Mercedes-Benz contributes the high-performance engine. The shift to the silver design takes place for the 1997 season. For the 2000 season, Adrian Newey designed the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-15 as an evolutionary stage of the MP4-14: distinctive air vents on the sidepods set a trend in Formula One, and the exhaust arrangement is also unusual. The nose is slightly shorter and lower than its predecessor, with which Mika Häkkinen became World Champion in 1999. Developed by engine designer Mario Illien, the high-revving ten-cylinder power unit, designated Mercedes-Benz F0110J, is built in Brixworth.

The MP4-15 is once again extremely competitive. Out of 17 Grand Prix, Mika Häkkinen wins four races in the 2000 season. David Coulthard takes three victories, including the one at the Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours – even a double win together with Häkkinen. The latter initially holds the World Championship lead, but a winning streak by Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher brings the Italian #racing team its first Drivers’ World Championship in 21 years in a thrilling season finale in Suzuka.

Race data – McLaren-Mercedes MP4-15

Deployment: 2000

Formula One World Constructors’ Championship: Vice World Champion

Formula One Drivers’ World Championship: Mika Häkkinen – Vice World Champion

Formula One Drivers’ World Championship: David Coulthard – 3rd place

Victories: 7

Pole positions: 7

Podium finishes: 22

Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ Formula One #racing car, 2018

Deployment: Exhibition

The Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ is an outstanding Formula One #racing car from the brand with the star. Important changes compared to 2017 are the introduction of the cockpit protection Halo as well as the disappearance of the aerodynamic elements called “Monkey Seat” and the high-positioned T-wings. The F1 W09 EQ Power+ took the team to an impressive fifth consecutive double championship win – equalling Ferrari’s existing record. Lewis Hamilton drives to his fifth drivers’ World Championship (Mexican Grand Prix), the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team secures the Constructors’ World Championship again (Brazilian Grand Prix). Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas together collected no fewer than 655 points. In 2018, the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ completed a total of 7,791 laps, covering 38,854 kilometres including 128,631 bends and 381,586 gear changes.

Lewis Hamilton wins the French Grand Prix in June 2018 with the F1 W09 EQ Power+. His teammate Valtteri Bottas sets the fastest race lap and crosses the finish line in seventh place.

Race data – Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ Formula One race car

Deployment: 2018

Formula One Constructors’ Championship: World Champion

Formula One Drivers’ World Championship: Lewis Hamilton – World Champion

Formula One Drivers’ World Championship: Valtteri Bottas – 5th place

Victories: 11

Double victories: 4

Pole positions: 13

Podium finishes: 25

70 Years of the Mercedes-Benz SL

On 12 March 1952, Mercedes-Benz presented the spectacular 300 SL #racing sports car on the A 81 motorway near Stuttgart. From 1954, the successful competition car was developed into the series production super sports car. This laid the foundation stone for the Mercedes-Benz SL sports car tradition that continues to this day.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL #racing sports car (W 194), 1952

Deployment: Dynamic (ride)

Vehicle description: See “Mercedes-Benz motorsport successes in France”

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé (W 198), 1955

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive – accompanied)

In February 1954, the 300 SL series-production sports car (W 198) celebrated its world premiere at the International Motor Sport Show in New York. The Coupé was called the “Gullwing” or the “Papillon” (butterfly) owing to its distinctive roof-mounted doors, which resembled a gull’s wings. However, the solution is not an aesthetic end in itself, but technically necessary. This was because the tubular roll cage was so high at the sills that conventional door designs were simply not possible. The high-performance sports car was based on the legendary 300 SL #racing sports car (W 194) from the 1952 season. The enhanced W 198 was the world’s first production passenger car with a four-stroke engine and direct petrol injection. With an engine output of 158 kW (215 hp) – a good 25 per cent more than the carburettor motor #racing version of 1952 – and a top speed of up to 250 km/h, the W 198 was in the top echelon of production sports cars in its day, which also made it predestined for #racing. The triple class victory with the 300 SL “Gullwing” at the Mille Miglia 1955 by John Cooper Fitch and co-driver Kurt Gessl is legendary. From 1954 to 1957, a total of 1,400 units of the 300 SL Coupé were built, 29 of them with aluminium bodywork.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé (W 198)

Model year: 1955

Cylinders: 6/inline

Displacement: 2,996 cc

Output: 158 kW (215 hp) at 5,800 rpm

Top speed: Up to 250 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé “417” (W 198), 1955

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive – accompanied)

In February 1954, the 300 SL series-production sports car (W 198) celebrated its world premiere at the International Motor Sport Show in New York. The Coupé was called the “Gullwing” or the “Papillon” (butterfly) owing to its distinctive roof-mounted doors, which resembled a gull’s wings. However, the solution is not an aesthetic end in itself, but technically necessary. This was because the tubular roll cage was so high at the sills that conventional door designs were simply not possible. The high-performance sports car was based on the legendary 300 SL #racing sports car (W 194) from the 1952 season. The enhanced W 198 was the world’s first production passenger car with a four-stroke engine and direct petrol injection. With an engine output of 158 kW (215 hp) – a good 25 per cent more than the carburettor motor #racing version of 1952 – and a top speed of up to 250 km/h, the W 198 was in the top echelon of production sports cars in its day, which also made it predestined for #racing. From 1954 to 1957, a total of 1,400 units of the 300 SL Coupé were built, 29 of them with aluminium bodywork.

One legendary triumph was the triple class victory of the 300 SL “Gullwing” in the 1955 Mille Miglia. John Cooper Fitch and his co-driver Kurt Gessl took fifth place in the overall classification in car number 417, which represented their starting time of 4.17 a.m., and led the field of production sports cars with engines over 1.3 litres of displacement ahead of two other “Gullwings”. The vehicle presented is visually modelled on the winning vehicle from 1955.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé (W 198), series version

Model year: 1955

Cylinders: 6/inline

Displacement: 2,996 cc

Output: 158 kW (215 hp) at 5,800 rpm

Top speed: Up to 250 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS (W 198), 1957

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive – accompanied)

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS, a special version of the 300 SL Roadster (W 198), is built in 1957 in two specimens for the American Sports Car Championship, after the production version of the brand new model cannot yet be homologated for the “Standard Production” category in the 1957 season. To maximise its chances in the only remaining alternative motor #racing category, D, every trick in the book was applied to slim down a standard Roadster to an SLS weighing just 970 kilograms. In a parallel process, the engine output was increased to 173 kW (235 hp). It was in the SLS that Paul O’Shea won Category D of the American Sports Car Championship by a significant margin over the competition – he had previously taken the title in 1955 and 1956 with the 300 SL “Gullwing”.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS (W 198)

Deployment: 1957

Cylinders: 6/inline

Displacement: 2,996 cc

Output: 173 kW (235 hp) at 5,900 rpm

Top speed: 260 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198), 1958

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive – accompanied)

At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1957, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 300 SL Roadster (W 198) as the successor to the Coupé of the same model series, which had made its debut in 1954. On a technical level, the open-top sports car was very much like the “Gullwing”, although the modified roll cage allowed for the installation of conventionally hinged doors. These were necessary for open-top driving and were more convenient for getting in and out of the vehicle. The chassis had also been evolved further: the single-joint swing axle with low pivot point was used instead of the classic two-joint design and was equipped with a compensating spring in the 300 SL Roadster. From autumn 1958 onwards, the Roadster was also available on request with a detachable hardtop. Mercedes-Benz engineers derived the 300 SLS #racing variant from the standard 300 SL Roadster, with which Paul O’Shea won the 1957 American Sports Car Championship in Category D. This completes the circle as the 300 SL is based on the #racing sports car of the same name (W 194), which is used highly successfully in motor #racing in 1952. In 1961, the 300 SL Roadster was provided with disc brakes, and, in 1962, with a cast-aluminium crankcase. Production of the sports car continued until 1963. A total of 1,858 units of the highly exclusive sports car, which today is one of the most sought-after classics, were built over a period of seven years.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198)

Model year: 1958

Cylinders: 6/inline

Displacement: 2,996 cc

Output: 158 kW (215 hp) at 5,800 rpm

Top speed: Up to 240 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198), 1960

Deployment: Exhibition (sales vehicle – subject to changes at short notice)

Mercedes-Benz Classic always has exceptional classic cars from the brand on sale – e.g. the 300 SL Roadster from 1960 on display. It has undergone factory restoration and is in outstanding condition. The vehicle is finished in the rare colour combination of Mercedes blue with red leather and has a light grey soft top; the hardtop is painted in the colour of the car.

Vehicle description: See above:

Mercedes-Benz 230 SL “Rallye” (W 113), 1964

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive)

In January 1963, reigning European rally champion Eugen Böhringer was preparing for the next season. He was certain that the new Mercedes-Benz 230 SL, which was to be introduced to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in March that same year, would be ideal for rally #racing. More specifically, for the tough, long-distance Spa–Sofia–Liège rally. In 1962 he had turned many heads by finishing in second place at the wheel of the 220 SE (W 111). For this reason, Böhringer knew from experience about the benefits of a compact, agile vehicle at this brutal, non-stop rally: much of the route consisted of largely unknown, gravelly, narrow dirt tracks across the Alps and Karst mountain regions in what was Yugoslavia at the time. Böhringer wins over development head Prof. Dr. h. c. Fritz Nallinger, as an advocate in favour of the 230 SL’s deployment. Nallinger would, as it happened, go on to convince his – initially unenthusiastic – fellow members of the Board of Management. The project was successful across the board: Eugen Böhringer and his co-driver Klaus Kaiser raced along the route across Europe between 27 and 31 August 1963. After 92 hours and 5,500 tough kilometres filled with hardship, they made it to the finish line with a mere eight penalty minutes to their name. At the same time, this victory in the 230 SL underlined the competitive qualities of this SL model series.

The vehicle on display is visually modelled on the W 113 rally cars of the years 1963 to 1965.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 230 SL (W 113), series version

Model year: 1964

Cylinders: 6/inline

Displacement: 2,306 cc

Output: 110 kW (150 hp) at 5,500 rpm

Top speed: 200 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 500 SL (R 107), 1985

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive)

The SL models in the R 107 model series made their debut in the spring of 1971. The 350 SL was the first to appear. The model series exuded elegance and solidity. For the first time in the history of the Mercedes-Benz SL, the car was powered by an eight-cylinder engine. The 450 SL followed in 1973. In July 1974, the 280 SL was launched. This meant that there was a choice of three engines for the sports car. Today, this kind of choice is not unusual, but at the time it represented a novelty in the tradition of the Mercedes-Benz SL. During its production period, the R 107 series was equipped with a host of six- and eight-cylinder engines. The model designations were equally diverse. In 1980, the 500 SL celebrated its premiere as part of a major facelift. With more than 18 years of production, the R 107 model series set an internal brand record that is unlikely to be surpassed: Apart from the G-Class SUVs, there is no passenger car model series in the company’s history that is built over such a long period of time. A total of 237,287 open-top sports cars were built in Sindelfingen during this period. This figure underlines the tremendous popularity of the model series. The corresponding SLC luxury class Coupés of the C 107 model series were produced alongside the open-top SLs: from 1971 to 1981, a total of 62,888 of these were built.

The car used is an early vehicle of the model update at that time. A rare feature is the check fabric interior.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 500 SL (R 107)

Model year: 1985

Cylinders: V8

Displacement: 4,973 cc

Output: 177 kW (240 hp) at 5,000 rpm

Top speed: 220 km/h

Mercedes-Benz SL 600 (R 129), 1995

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive)

At the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz presented the SL of the R 129 model series. The brand hit the bull’s eye with this vehicle: production capacity was soon fully booked. Some customers accepted delivery times of several years. The vehicle’s stylistically confident design created an extremely coherent overall impression. It is considered one of the virtuoso works of the Mercedes-Benz Design department which was headed up by Bruno Sacco at the time. This SL also set new standards in terms of safety. Central components of the safety concept were the pop-up roll bar, which deployed within a few milliseconds under sensor control in the event of an imminent roll-over, and the integral seats, which could absorb many times the possible forces in the event of a crash. The chassis was tuned to the requirements of an elegant-but-sporty roadster and enabled precise, high-speed driving with a high level of comfort. In autumn 1992, the 600 SL with a twelve-cylinder engine (290 kW/394 hp) took over the top-of-the-range position. The absolute top-of-the-range model of the model series was the SL 73 AMG with a 7.3-litre V12 engine and 386 kW (525 hp), which was presented in 1999. In the summer of 2001, production of the R 129 model series ended after twelve years and a total of 204,940 vehicles, 11,089 of which were twelve-cylinder versions. This meant that the total number of units of this SL generation was lower than that of the predecessor R 107 model series. However, in terms of its average annual production, the R 129 was much more successful, with around 16,500 units.

The vehicle used here is a development vehicle from Mercedes-Benz Design. It already contains some features of the last facelift.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz SL 600 (R 129)

Model year: 1995

Cylinders: V12

Displacement: 5,987 cc

Output: 290 kW (394 hp) at 5,200 rpm

Top speed: 250 km/h (electronically limited)

Mercedes-AMG SL 63 4MATIC+ (R 232), 2022

Deployment: Exhibition (subject to changes at short notice)

The new Mercedes-AMG SL (R 232) is the latest interpretation of an icon. The sports car and performance brand unveiled it in 2021. With a classic soft top and sporty character, it fits seamlessly into the brilliant history. At the same time, the luxurious Roadster as a 2+2 seater is particularly suitable for everyday use and puts its power down on the road with all-wheel drive for the first time. The comprehensive technology equipment includes highlights such as the AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL suspension with active roll stabilisation, rear-axle steering, the optionally available AMG ceramic high-performance compound brake system and the standard-fit DIGITAL LIGHT with projection function. As a consistent performance luxury model, Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach has developed the SL completely independently.

At Le Mans Classic, Mercedes-AMG presents an SL 63 4MATIC+ (fuel consumption (WLTP) total (combined): 13.0–12.5 l/100 km; total WLTP combined CO2 emissions: 294–282 g/km). The combination of the new SL with a historical SL would be tempting? At Le Mans Classic, a 300 SL Roadster from 1960 stands right next to it. #mercedesbenzclassic always has exceptional classic cars from the brand on sale. The 300 SL Roadster has undergone factory restoration and is in outstanding condition. The vehicle is finished in the rare colour combination of Mercedes blue with red leather and has a light grey soft top; the hardtop is painted in the colour of the car.

Technical data – Mercedes-AMG SL 63 4MATIC+ (R 232)

Model year: 2022

Cylinders: V8

Displacement: 3,982 cm³

Output: 430 kW (585 hp) at 5,500 to 6,500 rpm

Top speed: 315 km/h

50 years of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class of the 116 model series

In September 1972, Mercedes-Benz presented to the public a completely newly developed vehicle generation of the luxury class. Officially called the “S-Class” for the first time, the 116 model series fits seamlessly into the brand’s long tradition of luxurious upper-class saloons.

Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 (W 116), 1977

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive)

In spring 1975, Mercedes-Benz introduced model series 116’s new, top-of-the-line model, the 450 SEL 6.9. The high-performance Saloon with the 6.9-litre M 100 engine was one of the fastest vehicles ever built at the time, with only a very few sports cars achieving an even higher speed. The technical basis of the large-volume eight-cylinder engine was the engine of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100). With the same stroke, its cylinder bore had been increased even further, from 103 to 107 millimetres. Thus, the 450 SEL 6.9 has a displacement of 6,834 cubic centimetres and 210 kW (286 hp) of power at 4,250 rpm. The high maximum torque of 550 newton metres is reached at 3,000 rpm, which allows for the choice of a “long” rear axle ratio (2.65). This cut the engine speed and thus noise levels. The three-speed automatic transmission originated from the 4.5-litre models, but was adapted to the power and stronger torque of the “6.9”. Mercedes-Benz took a completely new approach to the suspension of the top model in the 116 series: instead of the air suspension of the 300 SEL 6.3 (W 109), the 450 SEL 6.9 was equipped with hydropneumatics including level control. Four spring elements additionally took over shock absorber activities. A pressurised oil system balanced out the oil volume within the spring struts. As a result, the vehicle’s ride height remained constant and the full spring travel always remained available. Some 7,380 units of the 450 SEL 6.9 were built.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 (W 116)

Model year: 1977

Cylinders: V8

Displacement: 6,834 cc

Output: 210 kW (286 hp) at 4,250 rpm

Top speed: 225 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 280 SE (W 116), 1978

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive)

The 116 model series, presented in 1972, was officially referred to as the “S-Class” for the first time. With it, Mercedes-Benz expressed what had been a part of the luxury saloon range with the “S” in the model designation for decades: the letter stood for “super” or “special class”, for example. The new designation went hand in hand with a host of innovations that set new standards in terms of safety and comfort. The comprehensive safety concept included elements, such as a collision-protected fuel tank, a four-spoke safety steering wheel, dirt-repellent side windows, large headlamps, prominent direction indicators and dirt-repelling, ribbed rear lights. From 1978, the S‑Class became the world’s first series production car to be available with the anti-lock braking system (ABS), which ensured steerability even under emergency braking. A world sensation at the time, this pioneering innovation is now the #automotive standard for all vehicle classes. The S-Class underlined its status as the measure of #automotive engineering, and made its model designation a generic term for high-end cars. Some 150,593 units of the 280 SE were built, and a total of exactly 473,035 Saloons of the 116 model series were built between 1972 and 1979.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 280 SE (W 116)

Model year: 1978

Cylinders: 6/inline

Displacement: 2,746 cc

Output: 136 kW (185 hp) at 6,000 rpm

Top speed: 200 km/h

40 years of the Mercedes-Benz 201 model series

On 8 December 1982, a presentation of the Mercedes-Benz 190 and 190 E compact saloons, eagerly awaited by the public and the trade press, took place. The “Baby Benz”, as the W 201 was quickly affectionately called, successfully complemented the passenger car range downwards and thus established today’s C-Class segment.

Mercedes-Benz 190 (W 201), 1983

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive)

With the Mercedes-Benz 190, the brand established a third vehicle class below the luxury class and upper mid-range in November 1982. The 201 model series impresses with its fresh and agile design, clear wedge shape and fine light-catching contours. Internally, the Saloon was referred to as a “compact model”. The “Baby Benz” was what customers in the USA initially called the car. The Mercedes-Benz passenger cars of the larger classes with their strengths serve as a reference for the development. Compared to these, the W 201 model series is more compact, lighter and more fuel-efficient. Its technical highlights included the specially developed chassis with its multi-link independent rear suspension. This design largely compensated for lateral and longitudinal forces in all driving conditions and is still state of the art today. As the debut of the model series, Mercedes-Benz presented the 190 and 190 E models in 1982. These were followed in 1983 by the 190 D with a quiet diesel engine and in 1984 by the sporty 190 E 2.3-16, the first production vehicle from this brand with four-valve technology. Mercedes-Benz continued development of the model series. A highlight of the 1988 facelift was the 190 E 2.5-16 (143 kW/195 hp). After a final facelift in 1991, production of the W 201 ended in August 1993. By then, a total of 1,879,630 vehicles of the model series had been built, 118,561 of them of the 190 model.

The vehicle presented here is an early carburettor model: the combustible fuel/air mixture is generated by atomisation. Electronically controlled injection systems replaced this technology.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 190 (W 201)

Model year: 1983

Cylinders: 4/inline

Displacement: 1,997 cc

Output: 66 kW (90 hp) at 5,000 rpm

Top speed: 175 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201) “Supertourisme”, 1986

Deployment: Exhibition

Vehicle description: See “Mercedes-Benz motorsport successes in France”

Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3 “DTM ʼ92” (W 201), 1993

Deployment: Dynamic (self-drive)

Is this what a revolutionary looks like? November 1982 saw the premiere of the Mercedes-Benz 190 and 190 E models, the Stuttgart brand’s first saloon below the previous model portfolio. Internally, the series was called the “compact class”, but what the designers and engineers developed was much more a highly innovative mid-size car. It paved the way for a whole new model series family from Mercedes-Benz, the later C-Class. Even as a more compact vehicle, the W 201 fulfilled the Mercedes-Benz brand values in terms of handling, passive safety, comfort and reliability. It was also particularly economical thanks to aerodynamic optimisation and lightweight construction. Crash behaviour was on a par with the S-Class of the time (126 model series). The handling was equally excellent: a new rear axle design had been specially developed for the chassis, the patented multi-link independent suspension. It is still the state of the art today. The range of engine options was consistently expanded over the years. The 190 E 2.3 was built in 1983 primarily for the particularly important North American export market – together with the 190 D 2.2.

The vehicle used is a late example of the special “DTM ʼ92” model with which Mercedes-Benz celebrates Klaus Ludwig’s DTM championship at the time. The basis was the Sportline special equipment line.

Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3 “DTM ʼ92” (W 201)

Model year: 1993

Cylinders: 4/inline

Displacement: 2,298 cc

Output: 100 kW (136 hp) at 5,200 rpm

Top speed: 200 km/h (with catalytic converter: 197 km/h)