Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mercedes-Benz at the 2016 Mille Miglia; the New 190 SL



Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198) Mille Miglia 2015, Italy.


Mille Miglia, Brescia in Italy, 1 May 1955. Winner in the diesel class: senior engineer Helmut Retter (Daimler-Benz representative in Innsbruck) with co-driver Wolfgang Larcher in a Mercedes-Benz Type 180 D (W 120), start number 04, at a checkpoint.


Mille Miglia 2013, Mercedes-Benz 220 a (W 180, 1954 to 1959).

Mille Miglia, Brescia in Italy, 1 May 1955. Winners in the production sports car class: John Cooper Fitch and Kurt Gesell (start number 417) in a Mercedes-Benz Type 300 SL (W 198) touring sports car.


From the SSK to the 300 SL – Mercedes-Benz Classic will be represented at this year's Mille Miglia with ten of its own vehicles. Taking place from 19 to 22 May 2016, the event will be run over a thousand miles from Brescia to Rome and back. Mercedes-Benz Classic is for the first time entering an all-ladies team. Racing driver and new brand ambassador of "She's Mercedes" Susie Wolff will be sharing the cockpit of a 300 SL with Ellen Lohr. A second premiere is in store for a racing version of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL. A roadster of this model took part in the then road race in 1956 and will once again this year – exactly 60 years later – be at the start for the Mille Miglia.
Stuttgart. A thousand miles through Italy together with automotive fascination in the unique historic footsteps of motor sport: that's the Mille Miglia regularity race, which is held in memory of the road race that took place from 1927 to 1957 (and which was won by Mercedes-Benz in both 1931 and 1955).
The Stuttgart-based brand, automotive sponsor of the Mille Miglia, is closely associated with this legendary competition. Once again in 2016, Mercedes-Benz Classic will underscore the brand's intimate ties with the culture and tradition of the Mille Miglia by fielding a strong presence in the starting line-up. Originating from the company's own collection, the classic automobiles will be representative of all the Mercedes-Benz vehicles that participated in the then sporting competition in the era of the road race. For instance, supercharged SS and SSK touring cars will recall the victory of Rudolf Caracciola with Wilhelm Sebastian in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL in 1931. The Mercedes-Benz SS will this year be piloted by brand ambassador Bernd Mayländer.
A new milestone will be set by Mercedes-Benz Classic with its first-ever ladies team. The Mercedes-Benz drivers Susie Wolff and Ellen Lohr will team up for the thousand-mile race in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198). For Wolff, the Mille Miglia will be her first appearance as new brand ambassador for the Daimler initiative She's Mercedes, with which the Stuttgart-based automotive manufacturer aims to put a stronger emphasis on the needs of women.
She's Mercedes is the name of an initiative targeted at women. It combines an internet platform with exclusive event formats at different locations, sales staff training and the development of new services and mobility offerings. All activities are focused on dialogue – for both sides. The She's Mercedes network allows successful women to exchange views, develop new ideas and make contacts. She's Mercedes also brings the Mercedes brand world closer to women while learning more about their mobility needs.
With their participation in the Mille Miglia, the ladies team of Wolff/Lohr will recall the successful history of Mercedes-Benz female racing drivers, which dates back to the 1920s. For example, Ernes Merck in her Mercedes-Benz S finished second behind Rudolf Caracciola in the international Klausen Race of 1927, while Ewy Rosqvist with Ursula Wirth was victorious in, among others, the 1962 Touring Grand Prix of Argentina.
Second premiere for the 190 SL
The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL is making its debut in this year's Mille Miglia regularity race. It was only in 2015 that automotive historians provided definitive proof that the compact roadster was at the start for the legendary road race in 1956. This makes it an original participating vehicle in the Mille Miglia, which is a requirement that must be met by a vehicle model before it becomes eligible to take part in this high-profile regularity event. Alongside the vehicle entered by Mercedes-Benz Classic, a racing version of the elegant sports car, four other, privately owned 190 SLs will be there at the start. Mercedes-Benz's factory team also includes six 300 SLs (W 198), a 220 a (W 180) and a 180 D (W 120). A total of over 30 Mercedes-Benz classic cars will participate in this year's running of the regularity race.
The route for the Mille Miglia covers 1600 kilometres from Brescia to Rome and back. The programme begins with the technical inspection in Brescia on 17 May (Tuesday). The first stage, on 19 May (Thursday), takes the contestants from Brescia via Sirmione, Ferrara and Ravenna to Rimini. On 20 May (Friday), the race continues through San Marino back to the Adriatic coast and across the Apennines to Rome. The following Saturday (21 May) sees the challenging stage via Viterbo, Florence, Bologna and Modena to Parma. The fourth and final stage, on 22 May (Sunday), will take the participants from Parma via Cremona, Monza and Bergamo back to Brescia. The field for the Mille Miglia 2016 is made up of 665 vehicles from 40 countries. Of those, 70 already took part in the Mille Miglia in the days in which it was a road race.
Owing to its unique concentration of outstanding historical vehicles, the Mille Miglia is regarded by classic enthusiasts as a very special museum on wheels. Yet, as the race progresses through Italy, the culture of sporting mobility will also be carried forward into the future, because the 1000-mile event will also play host to the Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge, which will take place ahead of the regularity race. The Challenge will be contested by various SL generations, numerous Mercedes-AMG and AMG vehicles, as well as other historically especially valuable models from the brand history of Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes-Benz drivers at the Mille Miglia 2016
Ellen LohrBorn on 12 April 1965 in Mönchengladbach, Germany
Ellen Lohr came to motorsport via karting, in which she was active from 1979 to 1983. Her greatest triumphs were taking part in the Junior Karting World Championship as well as 1st place in the Northwest German Regional Karting Championship. After competing in the German Formula Ford 1600 series (German Champion in 1987) and first races in the DTM (BMW) and German Formula 3 Championship with VW in 1989/90, she was signed up by the AMG-Mercedes team for the German Touring Car Championship. Ellen Lohr is the first and only woman to date to have achieved a DTM victory, which she won in May 1992 at the motor 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. Subsequently, Ellen Lohr has continued to be actively involved in numerous other racing series, including the Paris–Dakar Rally since 2005 and again in truck racing since 2012.
Bernd MayländerBorn on 29 May 1971 in Waiblingen
Bernd Mayländer makes regular appearances in Formula One at the front of the field. That's because the racing driver, born in Waiblingen in 1971, has since 2000 been the official driver of the Mercedes-Benz Formula One safety car – currently a Mercedes-AMG GT S (C 190). Mayländer began racing in 1990, first taking part in Porsche Club Sport, Porsche Carrera Cup (overall victory in 1994) and Porsche Super Cup as well as in long-distance races. Driving for the Persson Motorsport team, from 1995 he participated initially in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) and the International Touring Car Championship (ITC), while, from 1997, he drove an AMG-Mercedes CLK-GTR in the FIA GT Championship, in which, together with Klaus Ludwig and Bernd Schneider, he won the 1997 race in Spielberg in an AMG-Mercedes CLK-GTR. In 2000, he was victorious in the 24 Hours Nürburgring at the wheel of a Porsche 996 GT3. Bernd Mayländer contested his final DTM season in 2004 as a member of the Rosberg team driving a Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Susie WolffBorn on 6 December 1982 in Oban, Scotland
Susie Wolff is equally at home in the cockpits of DTM 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. In 2000 she entered formula racing, competing in Formula Ford, Formula Renault and British Formula 3. Susie was twice nominated for the prestigous “British Young Driver of the Year Award”. Mercedes-Benz engaged Susie Stoddart for the 2006 season as a works driver for the German Touring Car Championship. For six years she drove for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series. 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, when she was engaged as a development driver for the British Williams F 1 racing stable until the end of 2015. Since 2016 Wolff is brand ambassador for the Daimler initiative She's Mercedes, with which the Stuttgart-based automotive manufacturer aims to put a stronger emphasis on the needs of women.
Mercedes-Benz vehicles at the Mille Miglia 2016
Mercedes-Benz SSK (W 06, 1928)
Of the six-cylinder supercharged sports cars of the Mercedes-Benz S-Series, the SSK (W 06) was the most exclusive and fascinating model. The model designation stood for Super-Sport-Kurz (Super Sport Short) and featured a shorter wheelbase alongside its particular sportiness. In the summer of 1928, works driver Rudolf Caracciola won the Gabelbach Race at the first attempt as well as the races at Schauinsland and Mont Ventoux with the brand-new SSK. In 1930 and 1931, the SSK took him to victory in the European Hill-Climb Championship. The weight-reduced and further modified 1931 version, also known as the SSKL (Super-Sport-Kurz-Leicht - Super Sport Short Light), likewise achieved spectacular successes. Among the most important of these was the victory in the legendary thousand-mile "Mille Miglia" race. In April 1931, Rudolf Caracciola was the first non-Italian to win this demanding road race from Brescia to Rome and back in an SSKL.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz SSK (standard-production version)Production period: 1928-1930
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 7065 cc
Output: 125 kW (170 hp), with supercharger 165 kW (225 hp)
Top speed: 192 km/h
Mercedes-Benz SS (W 06, 1930)
Despite its powerful engine, the Mercedes-Benz SS ("Super-Sport") was conceived as a "grand tourer". From its 7.1-litre displacement, the vehicle's six-cylinder in-line engine produced up to 125 kW (170 hp) without a supercharger and up to 166 kW (225 hp) with a supercharger. The SS, in the guise of a 184 kW (250 hp) racer, had its baptism of fire in June 1928, winning the Bühler Höhe hill climb. Numerous other racing victories were to follow. A total of 111 units of the Mercedes-Benz SS were manufactured between 1928 and 1933.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz SS (standard-production version)Production period: 1928-1933
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 7065 cc
Output: 125 kW (170 hp), with supercharger 165 kW (225 hp)
Top speed: 190 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198, 1954-1957)
In February 1954, the 300 SL standard-production sports car (W 198) celebrated its world premiere at the International Motor Sport Show in New York. The Coupé was referred to as the "Gullwing" owing to the roof-mounted doors resembling a gull's wings. The high-performance sports car was based on the legendary 300 SL racing car (W 194) from the 1952 season. It was the first standard-production car with a four-stroke petrol injection engine. With an output of 158 kW (215 hp) – a good 20 percent more than the carburettor-fed racing version of 1952 – the W 198 was in the top echelon of standard-production sports cars in its day, which also predestined it for racing. Various suspension setups and final drive ratios were optionally available for racing purposes, allowing top speeds between around 225 km/h and 250 km/h. One legendary triumph was the triple class victory of the 300 SL standard-production sports car in the 1955 Mille Miglia. John Cooper Fitch achieved fifth place in the overall ranking in his car bearing start number 417, heading the class for standard-production sports cars above 1.3 litres. Between 1954 and 1957, a total of 1400 units of the 300 SL "Gullwing" were produced, no fewer than 867 of them in the year of the Mille Miglia victory in 1955.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing"Production period: 1954-1957
Cylinders: 6/in-lineDisplacement: 2996 cc
Output: 158 kW (215 hp)
Top speed: up to 250 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121, 1955-1963)
In 1954, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the elegant, compact roadster 190 SL (W 121). It was conceived as a sports car "which, due to its high standard of comfort, [is] intended for a group of buyers wishing to cover even long distances at high cruising speeds in this vehicle of highly sporty outer appearance," as designer Josef Müller retrospectively described the vehicle in 1957. Designed by Karl Wilfert and Walter Häcker, the sportily elegant two-seater touring and utility vehicle was closely based at a stylistic level on the 300 SL "Gullwing" sports car (W 198), which was initially available only as a coupé. The roadster, for its part, was more closely related at a technical level to the Mercedes-Benz 180 "Ponton" saloon (W 120), using the latter's shortened floor assembly. The 1.9-litre petrol engine rated at 77 kW (105 hp) was newly developed. The four-cylinder power unit featured an overhead camshaft and was to found an entire family of engines. The 1956 Mille Miglia was contested by the French team of Michel Bianco / Jean Loup Pellecuer in a 190 SL (start number 347). This is confirmed by documents in the archives of Mercedes-Benz Classic and in the Museo Mille Miglia in Brescia. This fact, discovered in 2015, now makes the 190 SL roadster, which is popular among collectors, eligible for the Mille Miglia. A total of 25,881 units of this model were built, some 18,000 of them going to the USA.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (standard-production version)Production period: 1955-1963
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 1897 cc
Output: 77 kW (105 hp)
Top speed: up to 180 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 220 a (W 180, 1954-1956)
Unveiled in spring 1954, the 220, also called the 220 a (W 180) internally, was the first Mercedes-Benz six-cylinder model with a self-supporting design. Its modern, spacious "Ponton" body, which Mercedes-Benz had unveiled six months earlier in the mid-size model, offered previously unknown spaciousness and comfort. A single-joint swing axle, which had been introduced into standard production with the 220, ensured safe handling. Several Mercedes-Benz 220s participated in the 1956 Mille Miglia in the class of standard-production special touring cars. In this class, the vehicle chassis and engine could be modified. The Erwin Bauer/Erwin Grupp team won its class in the legendary Italian road race in a special 220: in the racing division headed by Karl Kling, three vehicles were prepared specifically for the Mille Miglia. They were already equipped with the twin-carburettor system of the 220 S successor model, with which the engine developed approximately 85 kW (115 hp). Shorter and harder springs as well as modified shock absorbers were fitted for sporty driving. In addition, the driver could change gears via a floor shift, as in the 190 SL – instead of the otherwise fitted column shift.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 220 a (standard-production version)Production period: 1954–1956
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2195 cc
Output: 63 kW (85 hp)
Top speed: 150 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 180 D (W 120, 1954-1959)
The first diesel-engined version of the Mercedes-Benz 180 "Ponton" (W 120) had its debut in January 1954. This meant that the Stuttgart-based brand now also offered its modern saloon with the characteristic "Ponton" silhouette with a diesel engine. A total of 114,046 units of the 180 D saloon were produced up to the facelift in autumn 1959. Mercedes-Benz entered several vehicles of this model, with start numbers 04, 09 and 010A, in the 1955 Mille Miglia. These diesel-engined saloons, which were capable of speeds up to 110 km/h, cannot be compared with the racers and sports cars that raced to overall victory in 1955. However, the 180 D was an ultra-modern vehicle at the time, with a self-supporting body and a "subframe" on which the front wheels guided by double wishbone axles were suspended. It demonstrated its strengths and great dependability in the Italian road race: Mercedes-Benz achieved a triple victory in the diesel class.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 180 D (W 120)
Production period: 1954 to 1959
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 1767 cc
Output: 29 kW (40 hp), from September 1955 32 kW (43 hp)
Top speed: 110 km/h

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