Speed records. Spectacular victories. Moments that define not only the history of Mercedes-Benz, but of the motorsport itself. That is what the car manufacturer is celebrating after 125 years in motor racing.
Putting technical and driving abilities together, since the birth of motorsport, here are the most important moments of the company on the race track.
- 200 km/h for the first time. The car with a 21.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, driven by Victor Hemery was the first to break the record of 200 km/h in Europe, in Brooklands, England. It was 1909 and it was just the beginning.
- The W 125 twelve-cylinder Silver Arrow, with Rudolf Caracciola in command, achieves the absolute speed record for vehicles on public roads, hitting 432.7 km/h.
- The tri-axle T 80, equipped with an aircraft engine was never actually used, even though it was conceived to reach speeds then unreached. The vehicle is now exhibited in the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
- Developed for one race only, the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix, the W 165 with a 1.5-liter engine was set on wheels in eight months. The car marked a double victory with driver Herman Lang followed by Rudolf Caracciola.
- In the 1970s, the C 111-II D (1976), C 111-III (1978, both with a diesel engine) and C 111-IV (1979, with a V8 petrol engine) set multiple world records on the high-speed circuit in Nardò, Italy.
- The Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201) celebrated several record-breaking runs in 1983 in Nardò. The high-performance saloon sets world records over 25,000 kilometers, 25,000 miles and 50,000 kilometres. It was the beginning of a fabulous career in the DTM.
- Three Mercedes-Benz E 320 CDI (W 211) standard models broke several world records over distances of up to 100,000 miles.
- In 2013, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive circled the North Loop of the Nürburgring in a record-breaking time of 7:56:234 minutes. It was the first production electric car to complete a circuit of the legendary race track in less than eight minutes.
- Two years later, Mercedes-Benz marked a class victory in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, United States. An almost completely standard C 300 d 4MATIC (W 205) was used, as Uwe Nittel finished the mountainous 19.99-kilometer route, at an altitude of over 1,400 metres, in just 11:37 minutes.
- In 1962, racing cyclist José Meiffret beame the first person to reach 200 km/h on a bicycle trailing in the slipstream of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198).