Author Topic: 125 Years of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport – Newsletter Issue 9  (Read 46 times)

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125 Years of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport – Newsletter Issue 9
« on: December 13, 2019, 11:40:48 AM »
Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz celebrated the great “125 Years of Motorsport” anniversary in 2019. This brilliant year is ending with amazing moments: the Silver Arrows are at the top of the teams’ standings in their debut year in Formula E and Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS is celebrating the 6th World Championship double in a row at the end of the Formula 1 season. The memory of the time of the SLC Coupé from the C 107 model series with its victories in long-distance rallies four decades ago is particularly strong.

V8 quartet: After 5668 exhausting kilometres, Hannu Mikkola and Arne Hertz won the 11th Rallye Bandama–Côte d’Ivoire (9 to 14 December 1979) forty years ago. They began a quadruple victory of the Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0 (C 107) V8 Coupé. The winning quartet on this rally in the Ivory Coast was completed by Björn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius (2nd place), Andrew Cowan and Klaus Kaiser (3rd place) and Vic Preston Jr. and Mike Doughty (4th place).

Luxury winners: The era of the successful SLC rally vehicles based on the sportily luxurious coupé began in 1978 and lasted until 1980. Alongside the crowning quadruple victory 40 years ago in Africa, there were also further spectacular successes: in 1978 Andrew Cowan / Colin Malkin and Sobiesław Zasada / Andrzej Zembrzuski celebrated a double victory in the “Vuelta a la América del Sud”, South American rally, for the Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC rally vehicles, ahead of three further cars by the Stuttgart brand in positions 3 to 5, including a further SLC Coupé. In 1980 Björn Waldegård  / Hans Thorszelius and Jorge Recalde / Nestor Straimel won the Rallye Bandama–Côte d’Ivoire with 500 SLC rally vehicles. The winning vehicle of 1980 can be experienced in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in the Legend 7: Silver Arrows – Races and Records exhibition area.

Close to series production: In the era of the V8 rally vehicles of the C 107 model series Mercedes-Benz continued the concept of close to series production of competitive vehicles. The powerful starting models were specifically optimised for tough use. The measures in the 450 SLC 5.0 for 1979 even included the engine: the performance grew from 177 kW (240 hp) to 213 kW (290 hp). At the same time the displacement was reduced from 5025 to 4973 cubic centimetres in order to keep to the displacement limit of 5 litres set by the regulations.

Rally regimen: Many changes to the details of the rally vehicles targeted conditions that the elegant, four-seater touring car based on the SL sports car of the R 107 model series were hardly likely to experience: from fording (switchable air supply for the engine) to the service stop in deep slush (securing of the cap for the engine oil and coolant filler opening with chains to prevent it from falling off). Then there was lightweight construction (fuel tank made from plastic) and a parking brake with a handbrake lever fitted to the transmission tunnel (for dynamic corner drifts).

Roadster legacy: After the great successes with the SLC Coupé, for the 1981 season Mercedes-Benz developed a rally vehicle based on the 500 SL of the R 107 model series: strong performance (235 kW/320 hp), consistently lightweight construction (1350 instead of 1586 kilograms) and a limited slip differential with 80 per cent barrier effect (for a spectacular drifting angle). One of the men behind the wheel of this rocket was to be the rally driver Walter Röhrl. However, the vehicle was never used because Mercedes-Benz ended its rally activities before the start of the 1981 season and concentrated on the development of series passenger vehicles.

Star guest: Today the 500 SL rally vehicle, with its fascinating history, is a sought-after guest at automotive classic events. Regardless of whether it is driven by Björn Waldegård at the 2013 ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival, or if it is to be experienced with Mercedes-Benz Classic brand ambassadors such as Roland Asch, Dieter Glemser, Klaus Ludwig and Karl Wendlinger at the Classic Days Schloss Dyck: this contemporary witness of the Mercedes-Benz V8 rally era inspires.

Golden final: Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix brought to an end the current Formula 1 season on 1 December 2019. The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 team is celebrating an outstanding return for the season: 6th World Championship title for Lewis Hamilton, 6th Constructors’ title, 6th World Championship double in a row. Valtteri Bottas ended the year in 2nd place in the drivers’ standings. Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales, received the trophy for the victorious constructor on behalf of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Motorsport team.

Lightning start: At the Diriyah E-Prix on 22 and 23 November 2019 the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 began a new era of motorsport with the Mercedes star. Stoffel Vandoorne finished both races in 3rd place and was therefore immediately in 2nd place in the drivers’ standings after his debut race. With both podium finishes, the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team also leads the teams’ standings. The fully electric FIA Formula E racing series marks the start of a new era for the brand after 125 years of motorsport.


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