Racing sports began around 120 years ago in France. At that time, vehicles that were often powered by engines made by Daimler took top positions in the first races held. With the first race starting from Paris to Rouen in 1894 and second one from Paris to Bordeaux then back to Paris in 1895. The motorsport gained international success which quickly materialized into the birth of Benz & Cie and
The first race circuit started from Paris to Rouen in 1894, with the second circuit including a Paris to Bordeaux and return back to Paris in 1895. As the motorsport gained international success and an audience, this quickly materialized into the birth of Benz & Cie and Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft.
From the early days of automobiles, Mercedes-Benz vehicles used to participate in prestigious racing events throughout Europe. They consistently won races and shattered speed barriers when taking part in record-breaking races.
The first Mercedes-Benz to become victorious was the Mercedes-Benz 200 hp racing car which used at the Nice Race Weeks in 1901. In 1909, it became the first automobile to break the record of a top speed of 200km/h. Hence, it was named the “Blitzen-Benz”, also known as the Lightning Benz.
Benz & Cie and Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft merged to form Daimler-Benz AG in 1926. In the many races held in the era of the late 1920s, most were dominated by the supercharged Mercedes-Benz sports cars, which emerged victorious in almost all major events.
The vehicles of the legendary S-series created the history of the motorsport as the “White Elephants.” In 1931 Rudolf Caracciola became victorious while driving the short-wheelbase SSK model in the grueling Mille Miglia race.
In May 1938, Mercedes-Benz gained a triple victory at the Tripoli Grand Prix. Hermann Lang, who was driving the Mercedes-Benz W 154 Formula racing car, took home the top prize ahead of Manfred Von Brauchitsch and Rudolf Caracciola.
Before the Second World War, Mercedes-Benz dominated the European Grand Prix with the Silver Arrows. The Silver Arrow was a name given to brand historians to refer to a whole family of racing cars, racing sports cars and record-breaking vehicles which became legendary based on their silver color, historic victories, and superb engineering.
In 1952, Mercedes-Benz returned to Motorsports by introducing the 300 SL W 194 racing sports car, followed by the W 196 R model to race Formula 1 World Championship titles in 1954 and 1955, along with the model SLR W 196 S for the Sportscar World Championship title in 1955.
Due to the challenges faced during the development of a new passenger car, the Mercedes-Benz brand based in Stuttgart withdrew from motorsport racing after 1955. However, private teams continued the motorsports tradition with the support of the Mercedes-Benz, and they managed to maintain a strong presence on International racing podiums.
In the 1970s the SLC luxury coupe sent explicit messages concerning the domination of the international rally tracks before the G-Model won in the Paris-Dakar rally in 1983. Other Mercedes-Benz cars including the heavy duty commercial vehicles were also successful at the endurance runs, rally races, and in the European Truck Racing Championship.
In addition to these racing sports cars and racing cars, Mercedes-Benz also built record-breaking vehicles, with some constructed on the basis of research vehicles. These vehicles included the C 111, (The 1976 C 111-II D to the 1979 C 111-IV). Other models manufactured for production vehicles from this research included the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16, which would later set three world records and nine best-in-class records in the 1983 at Nardo in Southern Italy.
In 1971, the AMG Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8, a heavy luxury saloon racing car with light weight became victorious, taking first and second place in the 24-hour race of Spa held in the Annals as their first Mercedes-Benz AMG sporting milestone. The victory was sensational and the name AMG became famous all over the world. AMG built an exceptional reputation in the field of sports cars between 1970 until the end of the 1990s. These were the initial years AMG equipped more Mercedes-Benz production models with high-performance technology.
Mercedes-Benz returned to the circuit motorsport in the late 1980s and won two Group C racing sports car World Championships. During the same period, it also participated in the German Touring Car Championship and later in the International Touring Car Championship. In the period between 1986 and 1996, they finished four times as runners-up and won three championship titles. Mercedes-Benz also began competing in the DTM race series, emerging victorious in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2006. In 2003, they claimed the top three positions. In the 2010 season, Mercedes-Benz also became the overall team winner.
After emerging victorious in Group C races and the DTM in the early 1990s, they returned to Formula 1, producing the Sauber-Mercedes in 1994 and McLaren-Mercedes in 1995. In 1998 and 2008, Mercedes-Benz won the World Championships and Team West-McLaren-Mercedes earned a constructor’s title in 1998.
In 2010, Mercedes-Benz introduced its team and a top signed driver to Formula 1. Since then, it has remained in the upper tier of the Grand Prix podium having won eleven times in total. In 2012, Nico Rosberg earned a GP with the Silver Arrow at a race in Shanghai, and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas work team became second in the constructor’s championship during the end of the 2013 season.
The history of Mercedes-Benz links with the history of motorsport and their racing success has proved to be the motivation and innovation behind the advancement of automotive engineering.