Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018:   Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018: Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles

11.07.2018: Mercedes-Benz W 25 750-kilogram racing car, 1934 The W 25 was the first Mercedes-Benz racing car for the new Grand Prix formula introduced in 1934. The vehicle weight not including operating fluids and tyres was limited to 750 kilograms – as the or

Mercedes-Benz W 25 750-kilogram racing car, 1934

The W 25 was the first Mercedes-Benz racing car for the new Grand Prix formula introduced in 1934. The vehicle weight not including operating fluids and tyres was limited to 750 kilograms – as the organisers wanted to restrict the power of the racing cars and thus the possible top speeds.

The designers at Mercedes-Benz opted for a classic vehicle concept with a front-mounted engine and driven rear wheels. The eight-cylinder in-line engine initially had a displacement of 3.4 litres and was equipped with a supercharger. In June 1934 Manfred von Brauchitsch won the very first race the W 25 entered, marking the start of the unique success story of the Silver Arrows.

The W 25 helped Rudolf Caracciola win the European Championship title in 1935 followed by two Grand Prix victories in 1936. The exhibited vehicle is a reconstruction and was faithfully modelled on the car that won the Eifel race in 1934, right down to the racing marks.

Technical data

Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 3,364 cc
Output: 260 kW (354 hp)
Top speed: 280 km/h

Mercedes-Benz W 125 750-kilogram racing car, 1937

The Mercedes-Benz W 125 racing car was also designed according to the 750-kilogram formula that had determined the rules for Grand Prix racing cars since 1934. Following a less successful season for Mercedes-Benz in 1936, the new Silver Arrow was redeveloped from scratch.

Newly appointed technical team manager Rudolf Uhlenhaut chose a revolutionary chassis design principle with soft spring characteristics and strong damping. The eight-cylinder in-line engine underwent a performance upgrade delivering up to 435 kW (592 hp). Success materialised immediately: not only did the W 125 win its first race, the Tripoli Grand Prix, it also achieved six wins, nine second places and six third places in 12 international races in 1937.

It remained the most powerful car ever to start in a Grand Prix race right up until the early 1980s. In a W 125 Rudolf Caracciola won the European Championship, which became the current Formula One World Championship after the Second World War, for the second time in 1937.

Technical data

Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 5,663 cc
Output: 435 kW (592 hp)
Top speed: 320 km/h

Mercedes-Benz W 154 three-litre racing car, 1939

The W 154 was Mercedes-Benz‘s answer to the new regulations which were introduced for the Grand Prix European Championship in 1938. As the decisive technical factor, the displacement was now limited: a maximum of 3 litres with or 4.5 litres without a supercharger.

In reducing the permitted displacement, the international motorsport association was aiming to lower engine output and, consequently, the speed of the racing cars. Mercedes-Benz again focused on the proven supercharging and developed a V12 engine which achieved 333 kW (453 hp) at 8000 rpm.

 In spite of the fact that the displacement was now virtually halved the W 154 lost practically no speed compared with its predecessor. In 1938 it won six of the nine most important races – including three triple victories and one double – and helped Rudolf Caracciola win his third European Championship title. In 1939 the thoroughly revised and performance-enhanced W 154 won five times in seven races – this time the most successful driver was Hermann Lang, with four of the five wins.

Technical data

Cylinders: V12
Displacement: 2,963 cc
Output: 344 kW (468 hp)
Top speed: around 300 km/h

Mercedes-Benz W 165 1.5-litre racing car, 1939

Mercedes-Benz developed the W 165 for one single race –p p p p the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix in Libya. The event organisers advertised the race in the Italian colony for voiturette formula vehicles with 1.5-litre engine only. This move was designed to oust the German competition as neither Mercedes-Benz (Tripoli winner in 1935, 1937 and 1938) nor Auto Union (winner in 1936) had a racing car for this class.

But the racing department in Stuttgart took up the challenge and built an all-new Monoposto for the 1.5-litre formula within eight months. Two W 165 Silver Arrows lined up against the numerically superior opposition comprising 28 red-painted Alfa Romeo and Maserati racing cars on 7 May 1939 and achieved a triumphant double victory: Hermann Lang won the spectacular desert race for the third time, Rudolf Caracciola finished second, and the fastest Italian car crossed the finish line a good 4 minutes behind.

Technical data

Cylinders: V8
Displacement: 1,493 cc
Output: 187 kW (254 hp)
Top speed: 272 km/h

Mercedes-Benz W 125 twelve-cylinder record car chassis, 1938

Following the record week in October 1937 which was not at all satisfactory for the Stuttgart-based team, the Mercedes-Benz record vehicle was tested in a wind tunnel and thoroughly revised.

The bodyshell was further improved to give it a sensational drag coefficient of just 0.17, made possible by cooling the engine with ice. In order to be able to manage without the conventional cooling air inlet and so to reduce wind resistance, a box filled with around 100 litres of ice and water was mounted in front of the radiator. This meant that the air inlet could be reduced to the size needed for the intake air.

Two additional venturis helped increase the output of the 5.6-litre twelve-cylinder engine to 562 kW (765 hp). It was in this completely redeveloped record-breaking car that Rudolf Caracciola reached 432.7 km/h on the motorway between Frankfurt and Darmstadt in January 1938. A record on public roads, which stood for almost 80 years.

Technical data

Cylinders: V12
Total displacement: 5,577 cc
Output: 562 kW (765 hp)
Top speed: 437 km/h

Mercedes-Benz T 80 record car chassis, 1939

The T 80 record car can be traced back to racing driver Hans Stuck, who in 1936 was aiming to become the world‘s fastest man. He had a record-breaking car designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Daimler-Benz, which was to be powered by a Mercedes-Benz aeroengine. It was calculated that an output of 2,206 kW (3,000 hp) to 2,574 kW (3,500 hp) would be necessary to reach the target speed of 600 to 650 km/h, for which the DB 603 aeroengine still in development was deemed sufficient.

The record attempt planned for February 1940 on the motorway at Dessau was thwarted by the Second World War: the engine was removed, and the car went into storage. The original body with its tubular-frame substructure has been on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum for some time, whereas the chassis is being exhibited for the first time here. To convey a realistic impression, it has been completed using a faithfully reconstructed tubular frame and a DB 603 cutaway engine.

Technical data

Cylinders: V12
Displacement: 44,522 cc
Output (planned): 2,206 kW (3,000 hp) to 2,574 kW (3,500 hp)
Top speed (planned): 600 to 650 km/h

Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Formula One racing car, 1955

The W 196 R marked Mercedes-Benz‘s return to Grand Prix sport in 1954 following a 15-year hiatus. The new Formula One car was designed based on new regulations that had just come into force, stipulating a maximum displacement of 2.5 litres. Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling landed a double victory at its very first race on 4 July 1954 in Reims.

The futuristic-looking version designed for fast race tracks lined up with a streamlined body. However, the version with open wheels was used for most Formula One races in 1954 and 1955. This version was more suitable for twisty tracks because the driver always had the front wheels in view.

This version‘s debut in the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in August 1954 likewise ended in victory for Juan Manuel Fangio. The W 196 R achieved three further wins in 1954, followed by an impressive six victories the following year, with Fangio being crowned Formula One World Champion in both years.

Technical data

Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 2,497 cc
Output: 188 kW (256 hp) to 213 kW (290 hp)
Top speed: up to 300 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S)

Mercedes-Benz developed the 300 SLR (W 196 S) for the 1955 Sports Car World Championship. It was based on the successful W 196 R Formula One racing car. The main difference besides the body was the engine: the racing sports car did not have to comply with the Formula One displacement limit and was powered by a three-litre version of the eight-cylinder in-line engine, which ran on regular premium-grade petrol rather than special racing fuel. Its high performance potential and unrivalled durability and reliability made the 300 SLR far superior to its competitors.

After the still unsurpassed record-breaking victory achieved by Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson at the 1955 Mille Miglia, the first race the 300 SLR entered, the car continued to impress in no uncertain terms: double victories at the Eifel race, the Swedish Grand Prix and the Targa Florio (Sicily), a triple victory at the Tourist Trophy in Ireland, and victory in the 1955 Sports Car World Championship.

Technical data

Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 2,982 cc
Output: 222 kW (302 hp)
Top speed: more than 300 km/h

Mercedes-Benz CLK-LM GT-racing sports car, 1998

The sports car scene was revived in 1997 with the introduction of the FIA GT Championship. Mercedes-Benz and AMG developed the CLK-GTR for the new race series in just 128 days. Powered by a six-litre V12 engine, it dominated the 1997 season, winning six of eleven races, including four double victories.

At the end of the season, AMG-Mercedes took the team title and Bernd Schneider won the drivers‘ title. The further developed CLK-LM equipped with a five-litre V8 engine arrived at the end of June 1998 to replace the CLK‑GTR - and it proved even more dominant in the races than its predecessor: not only did it win its very first race at the Hockenheimring, it also won the following seven races that season.

After the two wins for the CLK-GTR, this record-breaking performance secured yet another team title for AMG-Mercedes. At a tense finale in Laguna Seca, California, Klaus Ludwig won the FIA GT Championship drivers‘ title together with the Brazilian Ricardo Zonta.

Technical data

Cylinders: V8
Displacement: 4,986 cc
Output: 441 kW (600 hp)
Top speed: 360 km/h

MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 W05 Hybrid Formula One racing car, 2014

In the 2014 season Formula One experienced the birth of revolutionary regulations. With immediate effect the focus was on hybrid power in the champions league of motorsport.

The F1 W05 Hybrid Silver Arrow redesigned from scratch was the most complex Formula One car Mercedes-Benz had built to date. The vehicle was driven by the PU106A Hybrid Power Unit, a 1.6-litre V6 combustion engine with a single-stage turbocharger and compressor.

This was combined with the new hybrid energy recuperation system (ERS) with electric motors capable of processing both kinetic energy and waste heat energy. With these and many other innovative technologies an efficiency increase of more than 30 percent on the previous year was achieved.

The new F1 W05 Hybrid helped the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 team win the Constructors‘ World Championship in 2014 and Lewis Hamilton his second World Championship title in the same year.

Technical data
Cylinders: V6
Displacement: 1,600 cc
Energy recuperation system
output: 120 kW (161 hp)

- Ralph Wagenknecht -   photos Mercedes


11.07.2018 / MaP

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