125 Years of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport – Newsletter Issue 9

11.
December 2019
Stuttgart
  • Quadruple victory with Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0 (C 107) at the 1979 Rallye Bandama
  • The success 40 years ago was the crowning glory of the V8 Coupé rally era from 1978 to 1980
  • Racing debut of the Silver Arrows in Formula E on 22 and 23 November in Diriyah
  • Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS celebrates the 6th double of the Formula 1 World Championship in 2019

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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  • 1996M165
    South American mud-track: the Scottish/English rally team of Andrew Cowan / Colin Malkin in action with a Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC on one of the many special legs in the Rallye Vuelta a la América del Sud from August 17 to September 24, 1978. The Britons succeeded in winning the rally.
  • 2001M182
    Eleventh Bandama Rally, 9 to 14 December 1979. Depot with pit stop in the open air. The team of Andrew Cowan/Klaus Kaiser with a Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0 rally car (C 107). The rally ends with a quadruple victory for Mercedes-Benz, Cowan/Kaiser take third place after Mikkola/Hertz and Waldegaard/Thorszelius.
  • 2004M247
    The SLC can do it: the eventual winners Hannu Mikkola / Arne Hertz (start number 6) with a Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0 rally car during the 11th Bandama Rally, Cote d’Ivoire, December 9 - 14, 1979.
  • 2001M178
    Against stiff competition, the two 500 SLC driven by Björn Waldegaard / Hans Thorszelius and Jorge Recalde / Nestor Straimel achieved a double victory in the 12th Rally Bandama, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), from 9 to 14 December 1980. This was also the last factory involvement of Daimler-Benz AG in rallying, since in December 1980 the Board of Management decided that the Stuttgart-based company would withdraw from the world championship for capacity reasons.
  • R9933
    Rally Vuelta a la América del Sud, 17 August to 24 September 1978. Andrew Cowan and Colin Malkin celebrate their victory in Buenos Aires.
  • 2001M102
    11th Ivory Coast Rallye Bandama, 9 to 14 December 1979. The rally ended with a quadruple victory for the Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0 (C 107).
  • M223136
    Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Abu Dhabi GP 2019. Valtteri Bottas
  • M223206
    Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Abu Dhabi GP 2019. Lewis Hamilton
  • M223210
    Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Abu Dhabi GP 2019. Lewis Hamilton
  • M223269
    Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Abu Dhabi GP 2019. Lewis Hamilton
  • M223311
    Formula One - Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Abu Dhabi GP 2019. Lewis Hamilton
  • 2001M104
    Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0 rally vehicle (C 107) at the 11th Bandama Rallye–Côte d’Ivoire (9 to 14 December 1979). 40 years ago Mercedes-Benz attained a quadruple victory of the V8 Coupés with Hannu Mikkola and Arne Hertz (victory), Björn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius (2nd place), Andrew Cowan and Klaus Kaiser (3rd place) and Vic Preston Jr. and Mike Doughty (4th place).
  • 2004M252
    Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0 rally vehicle (C 107) at the 11th Bandama Rallye–Côte d’Ivoire (9 to 14 December 1979). 40 years ago Mercedes-Benz attained a quadruple victory of the V8 Coupés with Hannu Mikkola and Arne Hertz (victory), Björn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius (2nd place), Andrew Cowan and Klaus Kaiser (3rd place) and Vic Preston Jr. and Mike Doughty (4th place).
  • 2004M304
    Mercedes-Benz 500 SLC rally vehicle (C 107) at the 12th Bandama Rallye–Côte d’Ivoire, 9 to 14 December 1980. Björn Waldegård and Hans Thorszelius won ahead of their team colleagues Jorge Recalde and Nestor Straimel. This rally was to be the final works rally activity of Mercedes-Benz in the era.
  • 00075758
    Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0 rally vehicle (C 107), interior. The interior of the V8 Coupé was adapted to its functional purpose: three-spoke steering wheel, speed and tripmaster, microphone for radio system, bucket seats and roll bar.
  • D118067
    Mercedes-Benz 500 SL rally vehicle (R 107) at the 2013 ADAC Eifel Rallye from a bird’s-eye view.
  • D128044
    Mercedes-Benz 500 SLC rally vehicle (C 107) in the Mercedes-Benz Museum, Legend 7: Silver Arrows – Races and Records exhibition area.
  • D595682
    Mercedes-Benz 500 SL rally vehicle (R 107) at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Insight “125 Years of Motorsport” at Silverstone (Great Britain), 5 to 6 April 2019.
  • D595985
    Mercedes-Benz 500 SL rally vehicle (R 107) at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Insight “125 Years of Motorsport” at Silverstone (Great Britain), 5 to 6 April 2019.
  • D595987
    Mercedes-Benz 500 SL rally vehicle (R 107) at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Insight “125 Years of Motorsport” at Silverstone (Great Britain), 5 to 6 April 2019.
  • D629281
    Racing debut in Formula E with the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01: After the two races of the Diriyah E-Prix 2019 on 22 and 23 November 2019 the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team is leading the teams’ standing.
  • D629512
    Racing debut in Formula E with the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01: After the two races of the Diriyah E-Prix 2019 on 22 and 23 November 2019 the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team is leading the teams’ standing.
  • D629523
     Racing debut of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team: Stoffel Vandoorne ends both races of the Diriyah E-Prix on 22 and 23 November 2019 in 3rd place and ends the year in 2nd place of the drivers’ standings.
  • D629538
     Racing debut of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team: Stoffel Vandoorne ends both races of the Diriyah E-Prix on 22 and 23 November 2019 in 3rd place and ends the year in 2nd place of the drivers’ standings.
  • D660044
    Racing debut in Formula E with the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01: After the two races of the Diriyah E-Prix 2019 on 22 and 23 November 2019 the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team is leading the teams’ standing.
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