Mercedes-Benz in Motorsport


800px-DTM_car_mercedes2006

 

Throughout its long history, Mercedes-Benz has been involved in a range of motorsport activities, including sportscar racing and rallying, and is currently active in Formula ThreeDTMV8 Supercars Australia and Formula One.

The two companies which were merged to form the Mercedes-Benz brand in 1926 had both already enjoyed success in the new sport of motor racing throughout their separate histories. A single Benz competed in the world’s first motor race, the 1894 Paris–Rouen, where Émile Roger finished 14th in 10 hours 1 minute. The Mercedes Simplex of 1902, built by DMG, was Mercedes’ first purpose built race car — much lower than their usual designs — which were similar to horse carriages; that model dominated racing for years. In 1914, just before the beginning of the First World War, the DMG Mercedes 35 hp won the French Grand Prix, finishing 1-2-3.

Karl Benz’s company, Benz & Cie. built the “bird beaked”, Blitzen Benz that set land speed records several times, reaching 228.1 km/h (141.7 mph) in 1911. That record gained that model the reputation of being faster than any other automobile — as well as any train or plane. They constructed many aerodynamically designed race cars.

It was in 1952 that Mercedes-Benz returned to racing after the war, again with Alfred Neubauer as team manager. Their small and underpowered[citation needed] gull-winged Mercedes-Benz 300SL, won several races in 1952 including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, theCarrera Panamericana, and did well in other important races such as the Mille Miglia.

Mercedes-Benz was also dominant in sports car racing during the 1950s. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR was derived from the W196 Formula One car for use in the 1955 World Sportscar Championship season. At Le Mans that year, a disaster occurred in which aMercedes-Benz 300 SLR collided with another car, killing more than eighty spectators. The team went on to win the two remaining races of the season, and won the Manufacturer’s championship, but it had already been planned at the beginning of that year that the company would retire its teams at the end of the 1955 season. In fact in the aftermath of the Le Mans disaster, it would be several decades until Mercedes-Benz returned to front line motorsport.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Mercedes returned to competition through the tuning company AMG (later to become a Mercedes-Benz subsidiary), which entered the big Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 V8 sedan in the Spa 24 Hours and the European Touring Car Championship.

 

Read more at Wikipedia


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