This blog will expand on themes and topics first mentioned in my book, "The Automobile and American Life." I hope to comment on recent developments in the automobile industry, reviews of my readings on the history of the automobile, drafts of my new work, contributions from friends, descriptions of the museums and car shows I attend and anything else relevant to those interested in automobiles and auto history. Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 , 2016 by the author.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Mercedes-Benz at the 2014 Historic Trophy Nurburgring
Mercedes-Benz SSK 27/170/225 PS (series W 06, 1928 to 1930). ADAC Eifelrennen 2011, “Elefantenrennen” on 11 September 2011. Winner-to-be Roland Asch is behind the wheel
Stuttgart. –At the Historic Trophy Nürburgring 2014 (30 May to 1 June 2014) Mercedes-Benz Classic is set to showcase numerous cars from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection. In all likelihood, there will be seven former racing drivers at the wheels of legendary racing touring cars.
After six years of the “ADAC Eifel Race” the proven concept has a new name: the classic event is called the “Historic Trophy Nürburgring”. The Nürburgring, one of the most popular racetracks in the world, has close links with the motor sport history of Mercedes-Benz. In the inaugural race on 19 June 1927, Rudolf Caracciola emerged victorious ahead of team mate Adolf Rosenberger in a Mercedes-Benz model S. The legendary Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows were also born in the Eifel: at the beginning of June 1934, as the W 25 came to the starting line in silver – legend has it – the racing cars were first stripped of their white paint at the Nürburgring livery for weight reasons. Manfred von Brauchitsch promptly won the prestigious International Eifel Race in a new record time.
“As a long-term partner and the main sponsor of the event we can look back over a 120-year motor sport history brimming with successes. With exciting original vehicles and former racing drivers we want to rekindle the historic motor sport of bygone eras in an authentic way and thus conjure up further magic moments. This works especially well on the Nürburgring,” says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic.
Dunlop FHR Long-Distance Cup and Youngtimer Trophy
The current commitment to historic motor sport demonstrated by Mercedes-Benz Classic started back in 2011, when the traditional division of the Stuttgart-based brand built a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111) to take part in the Dunlop FHR Long-Distance Cup. Since 2013, in addition to this vehicle which is affectionately referred to by fans as the “Racing Tailfin”, a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (W 201) has also been taking to the starting grid of the Youngtimer Trophy.
The Dunlop FHR Long-Distance Cup and the Youngtimer Trophy represent two different eras of touring car motor sport – and yet at the same time also complement each other in an ideal manner. While the FHR Long-Distance Cup organised by the Fahrergemeinschaft Historischer Rennsport e.V. (FHR) pits GT vehicles and touring cars manufactured from 1947 to 1975 against each other, the Youngtimer Trophy is for vehicles dating from 1966 to 1990. The regulations for both race series are essentially geared towards the standards applicable to the homologation of the original historic models. This helps to ensure the maximum authenticity and originality of the racing cars which take part. In the “Historic Trophy Nürburgring” races are held for both series.
In the three-hour race as part of the Youngtimer Trophy on Saturday, 31 May 2014, Bernd Schneider will be lining up on the starting grid in a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (known as the EVO II for short). The EVO II is honouring the 120-year motor sport anniversary of the brand in a very special way. For its second season as the works racing car competing in the Youngtimer Trophy, the motor racing touring car built in line with Group A regulations has been kitted out with special body stickers: historic photo motifs tell the story of motor sport from its origins 120 years ago, through the first triumphs in the DTM to Mercedes-Benz’s current racing activities.
The 220 SE “Tailfin” Saloon (W 111) is already enjoying its fourth season competing in the Dunlop FHR Long-Distance Cup. In the three-hour race also to be held on Saturday, 31 May 2014, the “Racing Tailfin” will be piloted by Jörg van Ommen. Sporting an authentic grey paint finish, the car complies with the provisions of Appendix K to the international sports law issued by the FIA (Féderation Internationale de l’Automobile). The major successes achieved by the 220 SE in the 1960s include victories at the European Rally Championships in 1960 and 1962, as well a win for Ewy Rosqvist and Ursula Wirth at the VI Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix of 1962.
SSK on the starting grid at the “Elephant Race”
On Sunday, 1 June 2014 the 166 kW (225 hp) Mercedes-Benz SSK (W 06) invites enthusiasts on a journey to a particularly glorious era in motorsport history. Brand Ambassador Jochen Mass will be competing in the supercharged sports car dating from 1928 in the “Elephant Race”. The race for cars of the 1920s and early 1930s alludes back to the era which also witnessed the Nürburgring’s inaugural race in 1927. That race’s victorious Rudolf Caracciola, who was later to become the idol of the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows era, laid the foundation for his honorary title of the times, that of “Master of the Nürburgring”, with his win.
DTM legends: original cars and their drivers
A particularly colourful and exciting chapter in the motor sport history of Mercedes-Benz will be opened on Saturday and Sunday (31 May/1 June 2014) by former racing drivers Roland Asch, Bernd Schneider, Ellen Lohr, Klaus Ludwig, Kurt Thiim and Jörg van Ommen. At the “30 years of the inaugural race at the Nürburgring GP track” revival with the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16, the original winning car from 1984 of the then 24-year-old Brazilian Ayrton Senna, plus rides on the Grand Prix track exclusively for members of the official brand club, all eyes will be on the racing versions of the Mercedes Benz 190 (W 201) model. In 1988, Mercedes-Benz commenced its involvement in the German Touring Car Championships with the model 190 E 2.3‑16 (W 201). Since then the brand has been continuously active in the series, which was conducted in its original form until 1996 and revised as today’s German Touring Car Masters (DTM) in 2000. Since 1994, Mercedes-Benz has competed in the DTM with racing touring cars derived from the C-Class cars current at the time.
The Mercedes-Benz Classic cars at the Historic Trophy Nürburgring 2014
Mercedes-Benz SSK 27/170/225 hp (W 06), 1928
The SSK is the most exclusive and fascinating of the six-cylinder supercharged sports cars belonging to the Mercedes-Benz S-Series. The model designation stands for ”super-sports-short” (in German), alluding to both the car’s particularly sporty character and its shortened wheelbase.
Technical dataProduction period: 1928-1930 Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 7,065 cc Output: 123 kW (170 hp), with a supercharger 166 kW (225 hp) at 3,300 rpm Top speed: 192 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111) “FIA Appendix K”
Staying true to the 1960s, this competition vehicle is technically extremely close to the series-production model. The customary modifications include the reinforcement of chassis elements and body components, an increase in the size of the fuel tank and optimisation of the engine characteristics.
Technical dataProduction period: 1959-1965 Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 2,195 cubic centimetres Output: 88 kW (120 hp) at 800 rpm Top speed: approx. 170 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201), “Senna”
For the official inaugural race at the new Nürburgring race track on 12 in May 1984, Mercedes-Benz provided 20 identical Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201) cars. The most striking difference from the thoroughbred production car was the integrated roll cage. The inaugural race was won by Ayrton Senna, then 24 years of age, who had already made a name for himself as an outstanding up-and-coming Formula 1 driver.
Technical dataProduction period: 1984 Cylinders: 4/in-line Displacement: 2,299 cubic centimetres Output: 163 kW (185 hp) at 7,200 rpm Top speed: 230 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201), Group A
The use of this racing touring car in 1988 marked the return of Mercedes-Benz to racing, in parallel with its involvement in Group C.
Technical dataProduction period: 1988 Cylinders: 4/in-line Displacement: 2,299 cubic centimetres Output: 220 kW (300 hp) at 9,000 rpm Top speed: approx. 260 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution (W 201), Group A
In 1989, the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution model was developed from the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 series-production car as a new variant specifically designed for competition in the German Touring Car Championship. In order to reach the weight of 1,040 kilograms prescribed by the rules, virtually the entire interior was removed, and a roll cage installed. For numerous body parts, such as the bonnet, boot lid and spoiler, the plastic Kevlar was used. The new model with the cumbersome model designation became “EVO” for short and from 1990 it was also known as “EVO I” to distinguish it from its successor.
Technical dataProduction period: 1989 Cylinders: 4/in-line Displacement: 2,490 cubic centimetres Output: 245 kW (333 hp) at 8,500 rpm Top speed: approx. 280 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (W 201), Group A
Work on this second development stage of a DTM racing car based on the compact-class W 201 started in August 1989. The vehicles were developed by the in-house Mercedes-Benz sport technology (st) department. The Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II celebrated its racing debut on 16 June 1990 on the North Loop of the Nürburgring. In the years from 1990 to 1992, Mercedes-Benz achieved a triple victory with this vehicle in the overall DTM rankings in 1992 (Championship title for Klaus Ludwig, ahead of Kurt Thiim and Bernd Schneider) as well as 2nd place in the overall rankings in 1993 (Championship runner-up title for Roland Asch in the 190 E AMG Class 1).
Technical dataProduction period: 1990 Cylinders: 4/in-line Displacement: 2,490 cubic centimetres Output: 274 kW (373 hp) at 9,500 rpm Top speed: approx. 300 km/h
Mercedes-Benz C 55 AMG, DTM Safety Car (W 203), 2004
What was then the new C 55 AMG has been the official DTM Safety Car since 2004. The powerful C-Class ensures safety on the race track in case of any incidents or unclear situations. For this special application modifications have been made, amongst other things, to the chassis, braking system, and engine cooling.
Technical data (production version) Production period: 2004 Cylinders: 8/V Displacement: 5,439 cubic centimetres Output: 270 kW (367 hp) at 5,750 rpm Top speed: 250 km/h (limited)