Seven Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs as visiting stars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Seven Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs as visiting stars at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

23.06.2015: - Goodwood celebrates Sir Stirling Moss and the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR The most successful racing sports car of the 1955 motor sport season is making

- Goodwood celebrates Sir Stirling Moss and the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR

The most successful racing sports car of the 1955 motor sport season is making a sensational gala appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed: 60 years after the Mille Miglia victory by Stirling Moss driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, the world’s largest automotive garden party is celebrating the British racing icon Moss and his erstwhile team colleague Hans Herrmann in their authentic silver racing sports cars from 25 to 28 June 2015.

“Seven original Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports cars reunited with the racing drivers of that era at the fascinating Festival of Speed – a unique reminiscence of the 1955 motor racing season,” says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic and the Customer Centre.

“We are very pleased to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of this most successful season in the motor sport history of Mercedes-Benz together with Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann, and with the six 300 SLRs from our vehicle collection plus the 300 SLR from the French national motor car museum in Mulhouse.”

Only nine of the 300 SLR racing sports car with which Mercedes-Benz immediately won the 1955 world sports car championship were built. Eight of these 300 SLRs have survived, six of them in the care of the Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicle collection and marked by very different biographies.

Apart from the outstandingly successful open racing sports cars of 1955 with chassis numbers 1 to 6, the exclusive family of cars in the W 196 S series includes two coupés intended for long-distance competition, though they never actually raced. They have chassis numbers 7 and 8.

The car with chassis number 10 had modified technical features with a view to the 1956 season. The latest research shows that there was never a car with chassis number 9.

In Goodwood, Mercedes-Benz Classic is presenting the cars with chassis numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 (the last on loan from Cité de l’Automobile, Collection Schlumpf in France), 7, 8 and 10. Accordingly the 2015 Festival of Speed will provide a comprehensive insight into the different development stages of the W 196 S in the exciting ambience of past motor racing eras.

As a special highlight, Sir Stirling Moss will be reunited with the 300 SLR bearing chassis number 4. It was in this very car, still in original condition, that Moss won the 1955 Mille Miglia – the 300 SLR’s very first race outing – in the best time ever achieved for the 1000-mile race.

To commemorate this victory, the car in Goodwood bears the legendary start number 722 with which Moss and his co-driver Denis Jenkinson took to the starting ramp for the Mille Miglia at 7.22 a.m. on 1 May 1955.

Historical authenticity – right up close

Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann were two of the drivers who contributed greatly to the outstanding success of Mercedes-Benz in the 1955 motor racing season. The reunion of these two veterans with the seven 300 SLRs at the 2015 Festival of Speed amounts to a fascinating and authentic journey through time.

Visitors will experience at first hand how perfect interaction between man and machine still works its magic 60 years on: after more than six decades, both Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann will take to the wheel of their 1955 racing sports cars and drive them on the hill circuit.

With his victories in the Mille Miglia, the International Tourist Trophy (with John Cooper Fitch) and the Targa Florio (with Peter Collins), Sir Stirling Moss in particular stands for the race history of the 300 SLR. But in 1955 Hans Herrmann too was a hot favourite for victory in the Mille Miglia, until he was forced to retire by an unfortunate defect when in second place.

In addition to Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann, other Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassadors such as Klaus Ludwig, Jochen Mass, Sir Jackie Stewart, and Susie Wolff will be guests at the 2015 Festival of Speed.

The 22nd Festival of Speed will be held from 25 to 28 June 2015 on the estate of the Earl of March and Kinrara in Goodwood (Sussex, England). The motto for this year is “Flat-Out and Fearles”. All in all, the organisers are expecting well over 600 exclusive vehicles and around 150,000 visitors.

Known as “the world’s largest automotive garden party”, the Festival first held in 1993 celebrates the culture and beauty of sporty motor cars and motorcycles against the grand backdrop of Goodwood House. The centrepiece of the Festival are racing and sports cars presenting a veritable symphony of motor racing history and speed.

The highlights are the runs on the historic hill circuit beginning from 8.45 a.m. on all three days, as well as the driver’s paddock open to all visitors and providing an unrivalled close-up view of exclusive sports cars from all eras and categories.

There are also numerous accompanying events such as runs on the rally circuit in the estate’s forest, the auctioning of precious classic cars by the auction house Bonhams and a fly-past by the Red Arrows display team of the Royal Air Force.

The Formula 1 world champions meet the heroes of 1955

Mercedes-Benz Classic has a strong, longstanding partnership with the Festival of Speed. In 2014, to mark 120 years of Mercedes-Benz motor sport, the Stuttgart-based brand presented numerous winners of famous racing victories from the company’s collection in Goodwood.

It was also in 2014 that the sculptor Gerry Judah dedicated his “Central Feature” to the unique motor racing history of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Accompanying the original racing cars and racing sports cars from the Mercedes-Benz vehicle collection, many private collectors will by tradition be presenting their outstanding classics and helping the brand’s motor sports history to shine once again.

This powerful historical narrative is counterbalanced by the power the brand represents in modern times: in 2015, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team will be among the guests in Goodwood.

The reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and his team colleague Nico Rosberg will meet up with the motor racing heroes of 1955.

Current Mercedes-Benz sports cars and Mercedes-AMG models will also appear in the “Moving Motor Show” on 25 June. Since 2010, the Festival of Speed has always started on a Thursday, with the procession of sporty motor cars.

The Brand Ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Sir Stirling Moss
Born on 17 September 1929 in London, England

With his outstanding victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, Stirling Moss is among the greatest of all Mercedes-Benz racing drivers for all eternity. From early youth he already dreamed of a career as a racing driver, and in 1948 he began to compete in the British 500 cc Formula (Formula 3).

In 1949 and 1950, he became British Formula 2 champion. In 1950, he won the Tourist Trophy in a private Jaguar. In 1954, Moss started to drive for Maserati in Formula 1. At the end of 1954, after a number of test drives, Alfred Neubauer secured his services for the Mercedes-Benz works team as a driver for the 1955 season.

Driving the W 196 R Silver Arrow in Formula 1, Moss won the British Grand Prix in Aintree, achieved second place in the Belgian and Dutch Grands Prix, and became Formula 1 vice-world champion. But sports car racing was his absolute domain, driving the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car specially developed for that season.

In this car, Moss won the Mille Miglia, the Tourist Trophy (with John Cooper Fitch) and the Targa Florio (with Peter Collins). Enough to secure the world sports car championship for Mercedes-Benz. When Mercedes-Benz withdrew from active racing at the end of 1955, Moss repeatedly proved himself as a driver of world-class stature with vehicles of other brands.

After an accident in Goodwood he ended his active career in 1962. Moss was knighted by the Queen in 1999, and remains closely connected to motor sport. He is particularly active in events organised by Mercedes-Benz Classic as a Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassador and witness to one of the most glorious eras in motor racing history.

Hans Herrmann
Born on 23 February 1928 in Stuttgart, Germany

The 1955 season might have been a year of triumph for Hans Herrmann in the Mercedes-Benz racing department. He certainly had the talent for it – when the new Mercedes-Benz W 196 had its debut at the French Grand Prix in Reims in 1954, the young driver straightaway made his mark by achieving the fastest lap time.

But in 1955 bad luck was the young man’s companion in the cockpit. In an accident during practice for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix in Monaco, Herrmann was injured so severely that he was unable to compete for the rest of the season. Trained as a confectioner, he began his motor racing career in 1952, driving a private Porsche 356 in the Hessian Winter Rally.

In the same year, he achieved a class victory in the German Rally. In 1953 and 1954, driving a Porsche, Herrmann won class victories in the Mille Miglia. This brought him to the attention of Mercedes-Benz racing manager Alfred Neubauer, who secured him for the new Formula 1 team as a young driver in 1954.

In the course of his career, Hans Herrmann proved to be an extremely versatile driver in Formula 1 and 2 Grand Prix races, sports car races and rallies. Apart from Mercedes-Benz cars, he particularly competed in racing and sports cars by Porsche. He also raced in the cockpits of B.R.M., Cooper, Maserati and Veritas racing cars.

Herrmann achieved his greatest successes in long-distance races, e.g. with overall victories in the Targa Florio (1960), the 24-hour race in Daytona (1968) and the Le Mans 24-hour race (1970). His second place, driving a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111) in the 1961 Argentinean Road Grand Prix, was also a major achievement.

In 2012, Herrmann was honoured by the town of Collesano for taking part in the Targa Florio eight times. The former works driver arrived for the ceremony driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Hans Herrmann crowned his career with the Le Mans victory in 1970, and retired from active motor racing in the same year.

As a Brand Ambassador for Mercedes-Benz Classic, he remains closed connected to the company – and to motor sport – to this day.

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-times DTM Champion Klaus Ludwig 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-hour race at Le Mans in 1979, 1984, and 1985. Ludwig came to the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in 1985, where he initially competed for Ford and won his first title in 1988.

In 1989, he moved to the AMG-Mercedes team, for which he won two championship titles (1992 and 1994, vice-champion in 1991) with 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 motor sport, but in 2000 he once again competed in the new German Touring Car Masters (DTM), ending the season and his motor racing career with a 3rd place finish in the overall rating in a Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM.

Jochen Mass
Born on 30 September 1946 in Dorfen, Germany

Jochen Mass began his varied career in motor sport in 1968, racing touring cars for Alfa-Romeo and as a works driver for Ford between 1970 and 1975.

During this period, he won the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in 1972. At the same time, he also took part in Formula 2 racing (1973) and competed in 105 Formula 1 Grands Prix (1973/74 with Surtees; 1975 to 1977 with McLaren; 1978 with ATS; 1979/80 with Arrows; 1982 with March).

After winning the German Sports Car Championship in 1985 and a stint as a works driver for Porsche until 1987, he joined the Sauber-Mercedes team as a works driver. He drove for this team in Group C until 1991. In the new Silver Arrow, the Sauber-Mercedes C 9, Jochen Mass won the 24-hour race at Le Mans together with Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens, and finished as the runner-up in the 1989 world championship.

 Three years later, in 1992, Mass joined the team management for the DTM. To the present day Jochen Mass is regularly behind the wheel for Mercedes-Benz at historical events.

Sir Jackie Stewart
Born on 11 June 1939 in Milton, Scotland

The racing career of three-times Formula 1 world champion John Young “Jackie” Stewart began in 1964, and was extremely successful right from the start. Just one year later he was driving in Formula 1. In 1969, he achieved his first great triumph: the Formula 1 world championship for the Matra International team.

He won it again in 1971, and for the third time in 1973, in both cases for Elf Team Tyrrell. For more than 14 years he held the record for the most Formula 1 victories, 27 in all, which was only broken by Alain Prost in 1987. Again and again he also drove with great success in other race series. He ended his active career in 1973.

In view of the frequent fatal accidents in that period, it is no wonder that Jackie Stewart actively campaigned for more safety in motor sport from early on. In 1996, together with his son Paul Stewart, he founded the Stewart Grand Prix team which competed in Formula 1 from 1997 to 1999.

At the end of 1999, the team was taken over by Ford and continued racing under the name Jaguar Racing in the 2000 season, and under the name Red Bull Racing from 2005. In 1971, Jackie Stewart received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his achievements.

Susie Wolff
Born on 6 December 1982 in Oban, Scotland

Susie Wolff is equally at home in the cockpits of DTM racing sports cars and Formula 1 racing cars. Born as Susie Stoddart in Oban on the west coast of Scotland in 1982, she began her racing career at the age of eight, initially in karting.

Her parents, the owners of a motorcycle business, awakened their daughter’s interest in sporty vehicles early on: she was not yet three years old when she was given a small quadbike as a present. Moreover, both her father and grandfather competed in motorcycle races, and brought the petite young girl into contact with the motor racing world at an early age.

Susie Stoddart’s commitment to kart racing became a British success story: at the age of 14, she became British lady kart driver of the year for the first time, subsequently winning this title another three times. In 2000, she entered formula racing, competing in Formula Ford, Formula Renault, and British Formula 3.

Mercedes-Benz engaged Susie Stoddart for the 2006 season as a works driver for the German Touring Car Masters. For six years she drove for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series. Today, as a Brand Ambassador, she continues to be closely associated with the company.

In 2011, she married Toto Wolff, who became head of motor sport at Mercedes-Benz in 2013. In 2012, Susie Wolff’s dream of a cockpit in Formula 1 came true: she became a development driver for Williams F 1, and has been a test driver for this British racing team since 2013.

The Mercedes-Benz Classic cars at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

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

In 1955, Mercedes-Benz won the world sports car championship with the 300 SLR (W 196 S). In principle, the car is a model W 196 R Formula 1 racing car fitted with a two-seater sports car body.

The main technical difference lies in the engine: the racing sports car, which was not bound by the Formula 1 rule, was powered by a three-litre version of the in-line eight cylinder engine and had cylinder blocks made of light alloy rather than steel. In addition, the 300 SLR did not run on special methanol-based racing fuel, but rather on regular 4-star petrol.

An output of 222 kW (302 hp) plus great robustness and reliability made the 300 SLR far superior to its competitors in 1955, as it demonstrated with double victories in the Mille Miglia, the Eifel Race, the Swedish Grand Prix, and the Targa Florio (Sicily).

In the 1955 Mille Miglia, Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson (start number 722) won with a still unsurpassed average speed of 157.65 km/h. The results achieved by this sports racing car are unparalleled even today: the W 196 S won every race started and finished by a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR.

Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S)

Period of use: 1955
Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 2,982 cc
Output: 222 kW (302 hp)
Top speed: over 300 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupé (“Uhlenhaut Coupé”, W 196 S)

Mercedes-Benz had actually planned to build the 300 SLR racing sports car for the 1955 racing season only as a coupé. Instead the drivers opted for a roadster, above all in view of the expected noise level in the cockpit. Nonetheless two coupés were built in 1955 under the aegis of Rudolf Uhlenhaut, with a design very close to that of the 300 SL sports cars.

Their intended use for long-distance races in the 1956 season, beginning with the Carrera Panamericana scheduled for November 1955, suggested that a closed vehicle would be more comfortable and therefore suitable. However, the long-distance race in Central America was not approved by the Mexican government, and was not held in 1955.

The Coupés were therefore only used for practice runs – for example in Sweden, Northern Ireland, and Sicily. Later one of the two Coupés was registered for use on the roads as a test and business car for Rudolf Uhlenhaut.

Dubbed the “Uhlenhaut Coupé”, this car capable of up to 290 km/h became the absolute dream car of the 1950s. It was just as famous as the two-seater 300 SLRs used on the racetrack.

Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Coupé (W 196 S)

Period of use: 1955
Cylinders: 8/in-line
Displacement: 2,982 cc
Output: 228 kW (310 hp)
Top speed: over 300 km/h

Ralf Glaser- photos Mercedes and Goodwood (FOS)


23.06.2015 / MaP

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