Το τμήμα επισκευών της Mercedes, Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, επισκεύασε μια Mercede-Benz 220 SE “Fintail” του 1964 έτσι ώστε να την βάλει να τρέξει στον ιστορικό αγώνα αντοχής FHR στις 22 και 23 Οκτωβρίου στο Nurburgring. H επανακατασκευασμένη Fintail βασίζεται στην Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111) και μηχανικά φορά έναν 6-κύλινδρο κινητήρα 2.2-λίτρων απόδοσης 120 ίππων και 189 Νμ ροπής. Συνδυάζεται με ένα 4-τάχυτο χειροκίνητο κιβώτιο με ξυρού τύπου συμπλέκτη και μπορεί να πιάσει τα 170 χλμ/ώρα.
Το αυτοκίνητο θα το οδηγήσει ο Βρετανός δημοσιογράφος Andrew Frankel αλλά και ο Klaus Ludwig, πρώην οδηγός αγώνων. Περισσότερες λεπτομέρειες μπορείς να βρεις στο δελτίο τύπου που ακολουθεί.
Premiere of new ‘Fintail’ from Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Nürburgring
- Six-cylinder saloon competes in the race series organised by Fahrergemeinschaft Historischer Rennsport e.V. (FHR)
- Mercedes-Benz Classic has based the ‘Fintail’ for historical motorsport events on models from the 1960s
- Involvement in this race series harks back to Mercedes-Benz’s long-distance rally triumphs and customer racing in the 1960s
Stuttgart – A ‘Fintail’ based on the Mercedes-Benz 220 SE model (W 111 series) will compete in the season final of the long-distance cup organised by Fahrergemeinschaft Historischer Rennsport e.V. (FHR) on 22 and 23 October 2011 at the Nürburgring. Its participation in this race reflects the commitment of Mercedes-Benz Classic to upholding the traditions of the brand, which itself has a remarkable history in motor racing, and encouraging private drivers to take part in historical motorsport events. Mercedes-Benz Classic is a partner of the FHR race series. The ‘Fintail’ will be driven by British journalist Andrew Frankel and former touring car driver Klaus Ludwig. The vehicle has been built by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in accordance with the regulations laid down in Appendix K of the international sports regulations of the FIA (Féderation Internationale de l’Automobile).
Founded in 1983, the FHR has been promoting historical motor racing for almost 30 years and has made a significant contribution to boosting the popularity of the current race series with historical competition cars. The FHR, which has been under the auspices of ADAC Nordrhein since 2000, currently has around 600 active members.
Events taking place during the 2011 season include the ‘FHR HTGT for the Dunlop Trophy’ held as a series of sprint races for pre-1971 GT and touring cars, and the ‘Dunlop FHR Long Distance Cup’, a series of long-distance races for pre-1971 GT vehicles and touring cars built before 1976. In addition, there will be two series for formula vehicles.
Through its involvement in this fascinating sport, Mercedes-Benz is not only demonstrating its commitment to the active historical motorsport scene, but is also paying tribute to an exciting chapter in its own history. When the era of Mercedes victories in Formula One World Championships and racing cars ended in 1955, Mercedes-Benz enjoyed great success for a number of years in international long-distance races and rallies. This period was characterised in particular in the early 1960s by the ‘‘Fintail’ saloons with six-cylinder engines (220 SE and 300 SE models), which also served as a model for the new Mercedes-Benz 220 SE.
Typically, there was not much difference technically between competition cars and production models in the 1960s. The usual modifications included reinforcement of chassis elements and body components, a bigger fuel tank and adjustment of the engine characteristics to suit the specific purpose.
The principle of designing a powerful competition car that is closely based on stock technology is one that Mercedes-Benz Classic followed closely when building the 220 SE for the FHR Long Distance Cup. The modifications made to the production vehicle by the specialists at the Classic Center included equipping the interior with a safety cage with a safety quick-release lock for side impact protection elements such as cross door bars and protective side moulding (Fix Opening and Closure Security System, or FO-CS for short). In addition, the tail fin has been fitted with a fire extinguishing system and a 100-litre FT3 safety tank. In future, the car will also boast 5.5 x 15 wheels fitted with 6 x 15 tyres. Naturally, the W 111 also features the same classic light grey paint finish (shade DB 140) as used on vehicles between 1961 and 1964.
Mercedes-Benz 220 SE vehicle data
- Engine: six-cylinder (in-line)
- Bore x stroke: 80 x 72.8 mm
- Cubic capacity: 2195 cc
- Output: 120 bhp (88 kW) at 4800 rpm
- Maximum torque: 19.3 mkg (189 Nm) at 3900 rpm
- Front axle: double wishbone, coil springs, anti-roll bar, telescopic shock absorbers
- Power transmission: via propshaft on rear axle
- Rear axle: single-joint swing axle with compensating spring, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers
- Brakes: hydraulic braking system with brake booster
- Front brakes: disk brakes, diameter: 253 mm
- Rear brakes: Duplex drum brakes with turbo-cooled Alfin drums, diameter: 230 mm
- Transmission: 4-speed manual transmission with floor shift
- Clutch: single-plate dry clutch
- Top speed: approx. 170 km/h
Background: success on the track and at rallies in the 1950s and 1960s
- After the company ceased its activities in Formula One and sportscar races, touring cars began to dominate
- ‘Fintails’ with six-cylinder engines were among the most successful vehicles in the Mercedes-Benz era
Following the withdrawal of the Mercedes-Benz works team from Formula One and the sports car championship at the end of the 1955 season, all eyes were on the rally scene from 1956 onwards. Vehicles bearing the three-pointed star, mainly driven by private teams, competed on rally courses around the world. While racing cars and sports cars had stood out as the top-performing thoroughbreds in previous years, it was now the turn of near-production passenger cars to put their strength and stamina to the test. In the late 1950s and early 1960s it was predominantly the 300 SL sports car and 220 SE and 300 SE six-cylinder saloons that were setting the pace on the world’s roads and gravel tracks.
One of the leading partnerships during this period was that of Walter Schock and Rolf Moll. Racing for the Stuttgart Motor Sports Club, the duo received extensive support from Mercedes-Benz in the form of vehicles and service. Walter Schock took part in the Monte Carlo Rally in a Mercedes-Benz 220 ‘Pontoon’ on 15 January 1956, finishing on 23 January just 1.1 seconds behind the winner. One month later, the Stuttgart duo won the Sestrière Rally in Italy in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing coupé. Up in the mountains, the Silver Arrow simply left the rest of the field standing. Schock reflected on the outstanding performance of the coupé in winter rally conditions, saying: “Very fine snow chains on all four wheels allowed us to reach uphill speeds of up to 180 km/h.” Further triumphs followed, with a victory at the Acropolis Rally (26-29 April 1956) and class victories at the Wiesbaden Rally (21–24 June 1956) and Adriatica Rally (26-30 September 1956). In addition, Schock won in his class at the Eifel race and took second place at the Nürburgring Grand Prix. These results helped him to secure the 1956 European Touring Car crown and the German GT championship for up to 1300cc.
Having replaced Alfred Neubauer as Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Director, Karl Kling also occasionally took a turn at the wheel as a member of the works team. With Rainer Günzler as his co-driver, he secured an extraordinary victory at the 14,000-kilometre Mediterranée – Le Cap Rally from the Mediterranean to South Africa in 1959. The Stuttgart team were driving a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz 190 D whose reliability secured the event for them. In 1961, Kling was back behind the wheel of a saloon in Africa, driving a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE ‘Fintail’ to victory in the Algiers – Lagos – Algiers rally, once again with Rainer Günzler as co-driver. Kling was also the race manager when Mercedes-Benz factory teams competed in selected major races.
Schock and Moll took the European rally championship title in their 220 SE in 1960 too, crossing the finish line in first place at the legendary Monte Carlo Rally. This first overall German victory at Monte Carlo was actually a triple success for Mercedes-Benz, with the driver teams Eugen Böhringer/Hermann Socher and Eberhard Mahle/Roland Ott taking second and third place. Following this triumph in 1960, the sports press demanded that Mercedes-Benz come back to the racing circuits of the world and compete on a continuous basis with its factory cars. But sports manager Kling made the Mercedes position clear: “This success will encourage us to make further substantial efforts in rallies. But Mercedes has no intention of returning to motor racing.”
In the 1960s, Mercedes-Benz teams took part in the Argentine Road Grand Prix on several occasions. On 26 October 1961, for instance, Walter Schock competed in this very special rally against 207 other drivers. Awaiting the field was a relentless race covering 4600 kilometres and a difference in altitude of more than 3000 metres. This torturous test of endurance ended on 5 November with a double victory for Mercedes-Benz. Walter Schock and Rolf Moll came home first, followed by Hans Herrmann and Rainer Günzler. “That was perhaps the most difficult race I have ever competed in,” said rally champion Schock upon his return from South America. Together with team manager Karl Kling, Juan Manuel Fangio personally accompanied the Mercedes-backed teams. As this competition was very important for the American market, Mercedes-Benz continued to participate in the years that followed: female drivers Ewy Rosqvist and Ursula Wirth notched up a sensational victory in 1962 and Eugen Böhringer won the rally twice in 1963 and 1964, followed home on both occasions by two other Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Böhringer, who had been driving Mercedes-Benz cars in rallies since 1957, took the European rally champion title in the 1962 season in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE. With co-drivers Peter Lang and Hermann Eger, Böhringer gained points during the season at races which included the Monte Carlo Rally (2nd place), Tulip Rally (7th), Acropolis Rally (winner), Midnight Sun Rally (5th), Poland Rally (winner), Liège – Sofia – Liège Rally (winner) and German Rally (2nd).
One of the highlights that year was the victory in the legendary Liège – Sofia – Liège road race in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE. The following year the Stuttgart driver was once again victorious at this marathon race, which took drivers right across Europe but now to Bulgaria instead of Rome, this time in a Mercedes-Benz 230 SL ‘Pagoda’. He was the first driver ever to win this punishing rally in two successive years.
Mercedes-Benz was also enjoying success in North America at this time, and in 1957 it created the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS specifically for the American sportscar championship. The vehicle was based on the 300 SL production roadster, but the fact that its weight had been reduced to just 900 kg and its output boosted from 215 bhp (158 kW) to 235 bhp (173 kW) made it a highly competitive car. The SLS gave American Paul O’Shea his third consecutive title, following two victories with a 300 SL Gullwing coupé in 1955 and 1956.
The powerful eight-cylinder 300 SEL 6.3 saloon raced as a works vehicle only once – when it won the six-hour touring car race in Macao in 1969 with Erich Waxenberger at the wheel. The oil crisis in the early 1970s put an end to any further race outings for the saloon. Automotive historian Karl Eric Ludvigsen underlined the importance of this break in the motorsport traditions of the Stuttgart-based brand: “The oil crisis was the first externally prompted break in a long-established Daimler-Benz tradition, which had run continuously from the turn of the century, apart from the war years and a short hiatus in 1955. Year after year, there had always been one or more Benz, Mercedes or Mercedes-Benz vehicles competing with direct or indirect works support in at least one major race.”
Even now, however, the Mercedes-Benz racing tradition was continued by private drivers. Their vehicles were increasingly being prepared for competition by AMG, a company established in 1967 by former Daimler-Benz employees Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher in Burgstall near Stuttgart. One of their standout products in the early years was the refined version of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL with a 6.8-litre engine, which secured a class victory and finished second overall at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in 1971. With works support from Mercedes-Benz, a number of private drivers achieved great success during that time in rallies and touring car racing.
The vehicles and drivers of this era, including big names like Eugen Böhringer, Dieter Glemser, Hans Herrmann, Eberhard Mahle and Ewy Rosqvist, still delight racing fans today. And this fascination has also been the driving force behind Mercedes-Benz Classic’s increasing involvement as a partner in the FHR race series for GT and touring cars.
The ‘Fintail’ at the Nürburgring: Mercedes-Benz Classic driver
Klaus Ludwig born: 5 October 1949
Nicknamed ‘King Ludwig’ by his fans, the German racing driver and three-time DTM champion Klaus Ludwig was born in Bonn in 1949. He began his racing career in the early 1970s, taking part in slalom racing, orienteering and touring car racing. His first major successes included the German Racing Championship (DRM), which he won in 1979 and 1981, and victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979, 1984 and 1985. In 1985 Ludwig moved to the DTM where he initially competed for Ford, winning his first title in 1988. In 1989, he joined the AMG-Mercedes team and went on to achieve a total of 19 race victories in the following years up to 1994 (1992 and 1994, runner-up in 1991). Ludwig raced for Opel Team Rosbert in the DRM in 1995 and 1996, after which he rejoined AMG-Mercedes and, together with Ricardo Zonta, went on to win the driver’s and team trophies in the 1998 International FIA GT Championship. Although he officially ended his motorsport career after this, Ludwig raced again in the new German Touring Car Masters in 2000 where he finished the season − and his racing career − in third place overall in a Mercedes-Benz CLK.