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.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Mercedes-Benz at Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2016
Mercedes 120 PS racing car, designed by Wilhelm Maybach and completed in 1906.
This year's Goodwood Festival of Speed will see Mercedes-Benz Classic presenting highlights from more than 100 years of motorsport. From the Mercedes racing car of 1906 to the SLS AMG GT3 built in 2011 – some exceptional vehicles from the history of the brand can be experienced both on the race track and as part of the displays. The 21st iteration of the "biggest automotive garden party in the world" takes place from 23 to 26 June 2016 in the grounds of Goodwood House, the family seat of the Dukes of Richmond in Sussex/England. The theme for 2016 is "Full Throttle – The Endless Pursuit of Power".
Stuttgart. The history of motorsport and record-breaking drives at Mercedes-Benz is one of successful striving for the very best technology and the ultimate in performance, as demonstrated by the Stuttgart-based brand with its presence at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed. The Hillclimb at Goodwood will see a starting line-up of unique vehicles that have written motor racing history over the years, driven by Mercedes-Benz Classic brand ambassadors such as Roland Asch, Ellen Lohr, Klaus Ludwig, Jochen Mass and Susie Wolff.
Just how deep this sporting tradition goes will be ably demonstrated on the weekend of the Festival by a Mercedes 120 hp racing car of 1906, engineered by Wilhelm Maybach. Research and development work at Mercedes-Benz focuses systematically on the "endless pursuit of power", the motto of the Festival of Speed in 2016 – and has done so since the invention of the automobile by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler exactly 130 years ago, in 1886.
And as demonstrated, for example, by the Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner of 1938 that will be part of the line-up at Goodwood. Thanks to an outstanding Cd value of 0.36, it can reach a cruising speed of up to 170 km/h and – boosted by its supercharger – a top speed of 185 km/h. Dating back to the same era are two record-breaking cars based on the W 25 and W 125 "Silver Arrows", which Mercedes-Benz will be displaying at Goodwood. The W 125 record-breaking car was the one in which Rudolf Caracciola set the absolute speed record on a public road of 432.7 km/h in 1938, a record that still stands to this day.
The full spectrum of Mercedes-Benz's sporting success since the second half of the 20th century is evidenced by further vehicles in the high-class line-up at the Festival of Speed: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS of 1957 is the car in which Paul O’Shea won the American Sports Car Championship. The intervening years up to the present day are represented by a 280 E rally vehicle (W 123) from 1977, a Sauber-Mercedes C 9 Group C racing car from 1988, a Mercedes-Benz 1834 S racing truck of 1996 and a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 customer sports racing car.
O'Shea's 300 SLS was derived at the time from the 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II). A similar 300 SL Roadster that is currently on the books of the ALL TIME STARS (ATS) at Mercedes-Benz Classic is also putting in a guest appearance at Goodwood. This particular example, built in 1960, has been restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic with meticulous attention to the original detail and authenticity. A second outstanding ATS vehicle is the AMG Mercedes C-Class racing tourer in which Bernd Schneider became runner-up in the International Touring Car Championship of 1996. Both vehicles are being displayed on the Mercedes-Benz UK stand at Goodwood and are for sale.
The 21st Festival of Speed takes place from 23 to 26 June 2016. The event opens on the Thursday (23 June) with the "Moving Motor Show", an opportunity for the world's automotive and motorcycle manufacturers to present all their latest models. From Friday (24 June) until Sunday (26 June), visitors can enjoy the full Festival of Speed programme. Highlights here include the displays in the drivers' paddocks plus the runs up the 1.86 km-long Hillclimb and over a woodland rally course. The starting line-up includes contemporary racers as well as classic competition vehicles. Representatives of the current Formula 1, for example, will be among the guests at the Festival of Speed 2016. Along with the reigning world champions MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, six further teams are expected, while the Formula E will also be making its debut this year at Goodwood. The estate will be open each day from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., with action starting on the Hillclimb at 8.45 a.m.
The Festival, which was instigated in 1993 by Charles Gordon-Lennox, Earl of March and Kinrara, is one of the most important events in the international classic motoring calendar. The event celebrates both the culture and the aesthetic appeal of sporting automobiles and motorcycles centred on racing and sports cars performing a veritable symphony of motor racing history and speed. The organisers, headed up by Lord March as host, are once again this year expecting more than 150,000 visitors from all over the world.
The drivers for Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016
Roland Asch Born on 12 October 1950 in Altingen, Germany
Trained originally as a master automotive technician, Roland Asch initially began his motor racing career as a hobby, but soon began to achieve victories like a pro: wins in the German Hill Climb Championship of 1981 and the German Motor Racing Trophy in 1983 were followed by his début in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in 1985. He finished as runner-up in the 1988 DTM championship, driving the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 of the BMK team. In the late 1980s he came first three times in the overall standings in the Porsche 944 Turbo Cup, and in 1991 won the championship title in the Porsche Carrera Cup. Five wins for Mercedes-Benz in the early 1990s head the list of his various good finishes in the DTM. He ended the 1993 season as the runner-up in the DTM for the second time, and moved to Ford in the Super Touring Car Cup in 1995. Roland Asch remains very close to Mercedes-Benz to this day as a brand ambassador.
Ellen Lohr Born 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 her participation in the Junior Karting World Championship, along with a 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 the 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. From that time on, 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.
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, 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. He subsequently officially retired from motorsport, but competed once again in the new German Touring Car Masters (DTM) in 2000, ending the season and his motor racing career with a third-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 motorsport 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. Right up to the present day Jochen Mass is regularly behind the wheel for Mercedes-Benz at historical events.
Susie WolffBorn on 6 December 1982 in Oban, Scotland
Susie Wolff is equally at home in the cockpits of DTM racing 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 involvement with karting became a British success story. In 2000 she then moved across to formula racing, driving in Formula Ford, Formula Renault and the British Formula 3. She was nominated twice for the renowned "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 Masters. The Scottish-born driver drove for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series for six years. In 2011 she married Toto Wolff, who became head of motorsport 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 racing team until the end of 2015. Since 2016 Susie Wolff has been a brand ambassador for the company-wide initiative "She's Mercedes", with which the Stuttgart-based automotive group aims to increase its focus on the needs of women.
The Mercedes-Benz Classic cars at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Mercedes 120 hp six-cylinder racing car, 1906
This first Mercedes racing car was developed by Wilhelm Maybach for the 1906 season. The extremely innovative six-cylinder in-line engine features individual steel cylinders mounted onto the light-alloy crankcase, an overhead camshaft, overhead valves and a double high-voltage spark-plug ignition system. The design served as a model for top-performance engines for decades to come. The engine is not the only notable feature of the six-cylinder model. The longitudinal members of the frame are elbowed over the front axle, the leaf springs mounted in a flatter position and the radiator set lower, making this innovative Grand Prix vehicle appear extraordinarily low. It was, however, never used for racing, since the overhead camshaft and the allegedly "newfangled" spark-plug ignition failed to meet with the approval of the management and supervisory boards of DMG (Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft). Maybach, celebrated by the motoring media as the "king among designers", left the company in 1907. As a consequence, the company continued to use four-cylinder engines in the ensuing years.
Technical data for the Mercedes 120 hp six-cylinder racing car Year of construction: 1906 Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 11,084 cc Output: 88 kW (120 hp) at: 1500 rpm Top speed: 150 km/h
Mercedes-Benz W 25 12-cylinder record-breaking car, 1936
In the year of the Olympics, 1936, the autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt, these days the A 5, became the setting for a series of record-breaking drives between Hans Stuck, in an Auto Union car, and Rudolf Caracciola for Mercedes-Benz. The cars' aerodynamics played a particularly important role, since the wind resistance at the speed to which they aspired, 370 km/h, is some 14 times higher than at 100 km/h. Appearing for Mercedes-Benz was a special model based on the Grand Prix racing car of the time, the W 25. Making its debut at this point, the fully streamlined bodyshell, which also covered the wheels, had been optimised in the large wind tunnel of the Zeppelin works in Friedrichshafen. And successfully so: On 26 October 1936 Rudolf Caracciola set three international records, reaching a top speed of 372.1 km/h. Two weeks later he set a world record over ten miles, at a speed of 333.5 km/h. The contest entered its next phase in the autumn of 1937 with redesigned vehicles.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz W 25 12-cylinder record-breaking car Year of construction: 1936 Cylinders: V12 Displacement: 5577 cc Output: 453 kW (616 hp) at: 5800 rpm Top speed: 372 km/h
Mercedes-Benz W 125 12-cylinder record-breaking car chassis, 1938
Following an unsatisfactory week for Mercedes-Benz in October 1937, the Mercedes-Benz record vehicle was fundamentally redesigned. The bodyshell had been 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 slide carburettors helped increase the output of the 5.6-litre 12-cylinder engine to 562 kW (765 hp). In January 1938 Rudolf Caracciola drove this completely redesigned record-breaking car at a speed of 432.7 km/h on the autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. This remains, to this day, the highest speed ever reached on a public road.
Technical data for theMercedes-Benz W 125 12-cylinder record-breaking car chassisCylinders: V12 Displacement: 5577 cc Output: 562 kW (765 hp) at: 5800 rpm Top speed: 437 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner, 1938
The Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner marks the pinnacle of the aerodynamically optimised vehicles developed by Mercedes-Benz in the 1930s. Based on the Stuttgart-based brand's top sports car model, this unique vehicle set benchmarks in both technical and aesthetic terms. Mercedes-Benz was thus at the forefront of a development that was preoccupying the whole of the motor industry at that period: the rapid pace of technical change and the growing network of fast roads enabled higher potential cruising speeds and, particularly from the aspect of efficiency, aerodynamics were becoming increasingly important. With the flowing lines and low silhouette of the aluminium body, minimal sources of disturbance on the surface and underbody cladding, the design of the Streamliner interpreted the findings from the company's research in an exemplary way to give it a sensationally low drag coefficient (Cd value) of just 0.36 and a top speed of 185 km/h. Following meticulous restoration, Mercedes-Benz presented the vehicle to the general public once again in 2014.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 540 K StreamlinerCylinders: 8/in-line Displacement: 5401 cc Output: 132 kW (180 hp) Top speed: 185 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS, 1957
Two examples of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS, a special version of the 300 SL Roadster, were built for the American sports car championship in 1957 due to the fact that the production version of the brand-new model was not yet allowed to enter the 1957 season in the "Standard production" category. In order 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 174 kW (237 hp). It was in the SLS that Paul O’Shea won the Category D of the American sports car championship, by a significant margin over the competition – he had already previously taken the title in 1955 and 1956 in the 300 SL "Gullwing". Following Mercedes-Benz's withdrawal from motor racing in the US, both models of the 300 SLS were sold. The 300 SLS on display here was built in 1994 according to the original specifications on the basis of a 300 SL test car.
Technical data for theMercedes-Benz 300 SLSCylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 2996 cc Output: 174 kW (237 hp) at: 5900 rpm Top speed: 250 km/h
Mercedes-Benz C 280 E rally car, 1977
Following a long break from the sport, Mercedes-Benz returned to rallying in 1977, immediately taking first and second places in the London-Sydney Marathon. The rally, which took place that year for the second time since 1968, was over a distance of 34,000 kilometres and is considered the longest and toughest rally in the world. For six and a half weeks, the vehicles and drivers zigzagged across Europe, Asia and Australia. The vehicles used were near-standard 280 E models, equipped with rollover cages and with sturdy dust shields instead of the standard bumpers. The suspension was reinforced and 15-inch tyres fitted as a precaution against what were in some cases extremely poor roads. One of these rally cars was driven to victory by a team made up of Andrew Cowan/Colin Malkin/Mike Broad, closely followed by Anthony Fowkes and Peter O'Gorman. Two further cars finished in sixth and eighth places. This 280 E is the original vehicle in which Fowkes and O’G orman finished in second place.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 280 E rally car Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 2746 cc Output: 151 kW (205 hp) at: 6000 rpm Top speed: 200 km/h
Sauber-Mercedes Group C racing sports car C 9, 1989
Mercedes-Benz partnered with the Sauber team to compete in the Group C World Sports Prototype Championship of 1988 with the C 9. The partners won five races and finished the season as runners-up. The following year, 1989, the C 9 started in the traditional Mercedes-Benz colour of silver and won eight races. One of the most spectacular wins was the double victory of Jochen Mass/Manuel Reuter/Stanley Dickens and Mauro Baldi/Kenny Acheson/Gianfranco Brancatelli in the "24 Hours of Le Mans" – 37 years after the outstanding success of the first post-war Silver Arrow, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194). In that same year the team also won the world championship title, while Jean-Louis Schlesser won the drivers' championship. From 1987 until 1988, the team used the Mercedes-Benz M 117 V8 engine with 530 kW (720 hp); from the 1989 season the new four-valve M 119 unit came into service. Both engines are thoroughbred further developments of standard passenger car production engines of the type used in the S-Class and SL.
Technical data for the Sauber-Mercedes Group C racing sports car C 9 Cylinders: V8 Displacement: 4973 cc Output: 530 kW (720 hp)at: 7000 rpm Top speed: 400 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 1834 S racing truck, 1996
The Mercedes-Benz 1834 S racing truck succeeded the highly successful 1450 S as the second generation of racing truck to be developed by Mercedes-Benz. Its predecessor had won the championship title once with Thomas Hegmann at the wheel and three times with Steve Parrish. The 1834 S was designed for the Super-Race Truck category that had been newly defined in 1994, and classified as a pure racing vehicle with the appearance of a truck. Mercedes-Benz went on to dominate the new category as well with the 1834 S, winning the European Championship three times in a row from 1994 to 1996, twice with Steve Parrish once again at the wheel, once with Slim Borgudd. The 1834 S features a reinforced frame plus water-cooled disc brakes front and rear. Its powerful V6 engine is fitted with EDC Electronic Diesel Control (EDC) as a means of limiting its top speed, as required by the regulations, to 160 km/h. The vehicle shown was driven by Heinz Dehnhardt in the 1996 season.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 1834 S racing truckCylinders: V6 Displacement: 11,946 cc Output: 736 kW (1000 hp) at: 2000-2200 rpm Top speed: 160 km/h (governed)
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, 2012
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 was launched in the autumn of 2010 as an exclusive customer-sports vehicle for sprint and endurance races. The racer was designed to comply with the GT3 specifications of the FIA (Fedération Internationale de l’Automobile) that stipulate, amongst other things, a near-series engine. The GT3's 6.2-litre V8 engine therefore corresponds almost exactly to that of the series-production vehicle launched in 2009. Having said that, the lower weight of the racing car nevertheless means that it further undercuts the already outstanding acceleration figures of the standard vehicle. The SLS AMG GT3 is fitted with a six-speed racing transmission with sequential gearshift, controlled by the driver via two shift paddles on the steering wheel. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 has competed successfully in numerous races since the 2010 season. In the 2013 season alone, the SLS AMG GT3 took 38 victories and won four championships. The vehicle taking part at the Festival of Speed is the one in which the Black Falcon Team won the Dubai 24 Hour Race in 2012.
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3Cylinders: V8 Displacement: 6208 cc Output: 420 kW (571 hp) at: 6800 rpm Top speed: over 300 km/h