Mercedes-Benz in motorsport - 125 years of success
I'm assuming Mercedes-Benz staff left Saudi Arabia with a smile last Sunday because Mercedes EQ Formula E team, in its debut season in Formula E, is already on top of the standings in the constructors' championship after Ad Diriyah's double E-Prix. No surprise there, because Mercedes has been in the game for a long time and in 125 years of motorsport history, the German manufacturer has won its fair share of trophies, and some.
Mercedes has won anything and everything, you name it. They've won long-distance classics and rallies, endurance races and even the Grand Prix Marathon 105 years ago. The list of successful racing drivers is a saga and it includes speed record Rudolf Caracciola, F1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio and, of course, Lewis Hamilton, current back-to-back F1 champion with 6 titles to his name, five of which with Mercedes F1 team and one with a Mercedes-powered McLaren car.
Mercedes winning tradition began at the turn of the 20th century, with Christian Lautenschlager winning the French Grand Prix of 1914. The first half of the 1900s saw Victor Hémery reach 200 kph for the first time with an ICE car in 1909 in Brooklands, England, at the wheel of his Benz 200 PS. Cristian Werner won the Targa Florio in 1924 with a Mercedes, Rudolf Caracciola won the International Tourist Trophy in 1929 in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the wheel of a Mercedes SS W06. The list goes on.
In 1934, the 'Silver Arrow' name began being utilized when Manfred von Brauchitsch brought his Mercedes-Benz W25 Grand Prix car to victory at the International Eifel Race at the Nürburgring. The Silver Arrows kept on winning with other racing drivers and in different races as well.
In the 1950s, Mercedes decided to try rallying. It won the Africa rally Méditerranée–Le Cap in 1959 with Karl Kling at the wheel of a a Mercedes-Benz 190 D. Eugen Böhringer won the European Rally Champion in 1962. Klaus Kaiser won the International Touring Grand Prix of Argentina in 1964, in the same year, Ewy Rosqvist and Eva-Maria Falk won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally.
In the 1980s, Mercedes went back to the racetrack and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1989, with Jochen Mass driving his Sauber-Mercedes C9 along with Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens.
Now the brand has decided to focus its energy and resources on Formula E, electric car racing is becoming increasingly important for car manufacturers and at some point, sooner or later, they're probably going to win that, too.