Magic moments: 120 years of Mercedes-Benz motor sport: history at the Retro Classics show from 13 to 16 March 2014
March 5, 2014 by Mercedes-Benz
•Mercedes-Benz Classic presents highlights in the history of the DTM in hall 7 at the show in Stuttgart
•Strong presence by the company and the brand clubs at southern Germany's leading show for automotive classics
•Fascinating dialogue between competition models and the top-of-the-line C-Class models from Mercedes-AMG
120 years of motor sport history at Mercedes-Benz also stand for twelve decades in a culture of ongoing innovation for series production cars which is fuelled by strong impulses from motor racing technology. With a high-calibre presentation at this year's Retro Classics show in its Stuttgart home, Mercedes-Benz is also showing the importance of the intensive and fascinating dialogue between competition models and the brand's series production cars in the more recent history of motorsports: The top-of-the-range AMG models representing four generations of the C-Class stand shoulder to shoulder with the respective C-Class racing touring cars with which Mercedes-Benz has been so successful in the DTM series. Together with the classics business unit of the world's oldest automotive manufacturer, the Mercedes-Benz brand clubs are also showing a presence in hall 7 at the show in Stuttgart.
At the 14th Retro Classics show from 13 to 16 March 2014, Mercedes-Benz Classic is relating a glorious chapter in the 120-year motor sport history of the Stuttgart-based brand: The history of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in the DTM series is the centrepiece of the 900 square-metre stand in hall 7 at the show in Stuttgart. The display creates a fascinating dialogue between four racing touring cars from the different generations and the top-of-the-line models from the regular production model series W 201 (190 models), W 202, W 203 and W 204 (C-Class). This tradition is continued by the new C-Class (205 series) and the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Class Coupé for the 2014 season.
Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers such as Roland Asch, Ellen Lohr, Paul di Resta, Bernd Schneider, and Christian Vietoris are expected to be present on the stand as brand ambassadors. In a series of interviews and discussion rounds, they will give supremely authentic insights into this exciting and successful aspect of Mercedes-Benz motor racing history.
Race-winning model from Stuttgart with an international impact
Since the Retro Classics show was first organised by Karl Ulrich Herrmann in 2001, this successful event has undergone continuous further development. More than 1,300 exhibitors with over 3,000 vehicles are expected for the 2014 Retro Classics, showing a comprehensive kaleidoscope of automotive history and design for mobility. Vehicles from Mercedes-Benz are traditionally a focal point in this symphony of brands, eras, and vehicle concepts with which the Retro Classics show portrays automotive history in all its facets.
The 2014 Retro Classics show will open with a press and specialist visitor day on 13 March (Thursday), and a preview from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. On 14 March (Friday) the opening hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and at the weekend (Saturday, 15 March and Sunday, 16 March) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to classic automobiles and more recent classics, the Retro Classics show encompasses historic motorcycles and services related to all aspects of classic vehicles, model cars and replacement parts. Further information is available online at www.retro-classics.de.
The fascination of the DTM with Mercedes-Benz
The Mercedes-Benz stand at the 14th Retro Classics show is dedicated to the history of the DTM and the influences of this success story within the kaleidoscope of 120 years of motorsports at Mercedes-Benz on the sporty top-of-the line models in series production.
In 1988, Mercedes-Benz commenced its involvement in the German Touring Car Championships with the model 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201). Since then, the brand has been continuously active in the series, which was conducted in its original form until 1996 and revised as today's German Touring Car Masters (DTM) in 2000. Since 1994, Mercedes-Benz has competed in the DTM with racing touring cars derived from the C-Class current at the time.
Over this period Mercedes-Benz has secured 9 championship titles in the driver rating (Klaus Ludwig 1992 and 1994; Bernd Schneider 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2006; Gary Paffett 2005 and Paul di Resta 2010), 17 vice-championship titles (Volker Weidler 1986; Roland Asch 1988 and 1993, Klaus Ludwig 1991; Kurt Thiim 1992; Jörg van Ommen 1994 and 1995, Bernd Schneider 1996; Uwe Alzen 2001; Bernd Schneider 2002; Christijan Albers 2003; Gary Paffett 2004, 2009, 2010, and 2012; Bruno Spengler 2006 and 2007; Paul di Resta 2008) and eleven 3rd places (Kurt Thiim 1990; Bernd Schneider 1992 and 1993; Klaus Ludwig 2000; Peter Dumbreck 2001; Marcel Fassler 2003; Christijan Albers 2004; Paul di Resta 2009; Bruno Spengler 2010 and 2011; Jamie Green 2012). Added to these are 13 brand championships in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2000 to 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2008 to 2010.
Innovation transfer between racing and series production
While the Mercedes-Benz racing drivers deliver maximum performance on the circuit, the engineers are busy developing series production cars which likewise set standards in terms of performance and sportiness. This dramatic parallel process throughout the history of the C-Class and the history of touring car racing was particularly evident in the 201 model series. The very first DTM cars, with which success was initially achieved by private teams, were still closely related to the regular production versions.
From 1986, the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 competed in the German Touring Car Championships, initially with private drivers, and from 1989 it was replaced by the model 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution (or EVO I for short). Both models existed in series production and racing versions. From model series 202 onwards, the top-of-the-line series production models of the model series family now called the C-Class were recognisable by the inclusion of 'AMG' in the model designation. These three letters stand for the performance brand within Mercedes-Benz, which was originally founded as an engineering consultancy by Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher.
Over time the racing models became increasingly distinguishable from the regular production models. This was already very evident in the 202 model series, the first Mercedes-Benz C-Class. During this era up to 1996, the C-Class racing touring cars for the DTM and the International Touring Car Championships (ITC) increasingly developed into so-called silhouette cars. This is the term used for racing cars whose design is heavily inspired by that of the series production version, but whose technology is markedly different from that of the high-performance passenger cars. Such features include a lightweight bodyshell carried by a tubular frame, rather than a monocoque body. This concept was developed further for the cars with which Mercedes-Benz competed in the German Touring Car Masters from 2000.
On the stand at the Retro Classics show, one of each of these particularly sporty high-performance cars from series production stands opposite the corresponding racing touring car – three of which are DTM championship winners. This unique presentation with a total of eight vehicles from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection, plus two current models, is one of the highlights of the Retro Classics show – a 'magic moment' and milestone in 120 years of Mercedes-Benz motor racing history.
Cars exhibited by Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 2014 Retro Classics show
Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201)
In 1983, Mercedes-Benz presented the top-of-the-line model in the compact 201 model series: thanks to a newly designed cylinder head with four-valve technology and other features, the four-cylinder engine of the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 generated an impressive 136 kW (185 hp). This sporty saloon already revealed its performance potential externally, with a spoiler on the boot lid and a special paint finish in blue black or smoke silver. The top speed of the series production car, which entered the market in 1984, was up to 230 km/h. When it was presented at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main in autumn 1983, the 190 E 2.3-16 already had the first sporting successes under its belt: during record-breaking runs on the Nardò circuit in southern Italy, three near-series versions of this high-performance saloon established long-distance records over 25,000 kilometres, 25,000 miles, and 50,000 kilometres with average speeds of almost 250 km/h.
Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (W 201)
Production period: 1984 to 1988
Displacement: 2,299 cc
Output: 136 kW (185 hp).
Top speed: up to 230 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 racing touring car, Group A
Following initial DTM successes by private teams with the 190 E 2.3-16, Mercedes-Benz officially took part in touring car racing as a manufacturer from the 1988 season. The teams supported by the company competed in the DTM with the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 racing touring car configured according to the Group A race rules. The four-valve engine was derived from the M 102 engine of the production car, though in the racing version it developed around 221 kW (300 hp) at 9,000 rpm. In 1988 and 1989, the Mercedes-Benz teams competed with the 190 E 2.3-16, but in the 1989 season it was already replaced by its successor, the 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution, in the DTM.
Technical data – Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 racing touring car (W 201)
DTM racing: 1988-1989
Displacement: 2,299 cc
Output: 221 kW (300 hp)
Top speed: over 260 km/h
Mercedes-Benz C 36 AMG (W 202)
The C 36 AMG, which Mercedes-Benz presented in September 1993 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main, was the first AMG model to be jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG under the cooperation agreement concluded in 1990. This high-performance saloon also differed from the regular C-Class models in that the engine displacement indicated by the model designation was a two-figure number rather than the three-figure number usual at Mercedes-Benz. The top-of-the-line model in the 202 model series was powered by a 206 kW (280 hp) 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine with four-valve technology. This engine was developed by AMG from the well-proven 3.2-litre engine, which was also used in the E 320 of the 124 model series. Series production of the C 36 AMG commenced in early 1994.
Technical data – Mercedes-Benz C 36 AMG (W 202)
Production period: 1993-1997
Displacement: 3,606 cc
Output: 206 kW (280 hp)
Top speed: 250 km/h (electronically limited)
AMG Mercedes C-Class racing touring car (W 202)
In 1994, the Mercedes-Benz teams competed in the DTM with a new racing touring car based on the W 202-series C-Class Saloon. However, it was thoroughbred racing technology that lay concealed beneath the vehicle's bodyshell: as the power unit the AMG engineers opted for a V6 engine derived from the 4.2-litre V8 of the M 119 series. The result was the M 106 engine, which featured a likewise newly developed crankshaft and was able to comply with the displacement limit of 2,500 cc prescribed by the Class 1 rules. Capable of engine speeds up to 13,000 rpm, the engine transferred its power via a transmission with sequential gearshifting. It was with this powerpack from the 202 model series that Klaus Ludwig became German Touring Car Champion in 1994.
Technical data – AMG Mercedes C-Class racing touring car (W 202)
DTM racing: 1994-1996
Displacement: 2,499 cc
Output: 324 kW (440 hp)
Top speed: 300 km/h
Mercedes-Benz C 55 AMG (W 203)
Mercedes-Benz engineers already won huge acclaim with six-cylinder technology in the compact W 201 when they presented the model 190 E 2.6 in 1986. The C 43 AMG, which succeeded the C 36 AMG to become the new top model in the 202 model series, was the first C-Class powered by an eight-cylinder engine. Introduced in 2004, the 270 kW (367 hp) C 55 AMG in the succeeding 203 model series projected the C-Class into the performance dimensions of thoroughbred sports cars, with an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds. The new top-of-the-line model in the C-Class also made its exceptional status apparent with a distinctive front-end design and an 80-millimetre longer front end.
Technical data – Mercedes-Benz C 55 AMG (W 203)
Production period: 2004-2007
Displacement: 5,439 cc
Output: 270 kW (367 hp)
Top speed: 250 km/h (electronically limited)
AMG Mercedes C-Class racing touring car (W 203)
When the new DTM came into being with the title 'German Touring Car Masters' in the 2000 season, the teams initially competed with silhouette cars based on two-door coupés. Four-door saloons were used again from 2004, and the AMG Mercedes C-Class racing touring car based on the W 203 model series entered the lists. The racing car featured a structural spaceframe with a steel roof and side walls incorporating the driver's safety cell. The outer skin and detachable parts were of lightweight, highly resistant carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. The new racing touring car was powered by the V8 engine that had already proven its worth since 2000, in the DTM car based on the CLK. The C-Class racing touring car was improved further for the 2005 season, including a reduction in overall weight by 30 kilograms and an increase in body length and wheelbase. It was with this car that Gary Paffett won the DTM driver's title in 2005.
Technical data – AMG Mercedes C-Class racing touring car (W 203)
DTM racing: 2004-2007
Displacement: 4,000 cc
Output: 346 kW (470 hp)
Top speed: 280 km/h
Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG (W 204)
In Autumn 2007, with the slogan 'A C-Class as never before', Mercedes-Benz presented the top-of-the-line model in the new C-Class (W 204), the C 63 AMG. The top-of-the-line model was powered by the 336 kW (457 hp) 6.2-litre V8 engine. The car was capable of accelerating from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds, and in design the eight-cylinder flagship model differed even more from the regular production C-Class. Distinguishing features included a bonnet with powerdomes, a distinctive AMG radiator grille, flared front wheel arches, an AMG rear apron with black diffuser insert, an AMG sports exhaust system with two chromed twin tailpipes, and an AMG spoiler lip.
Technical data – Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG (W 204)
Production period: 2007-2013
Displacement: 6,208 cc
Output: 336 kW (457 hp)
Top speed: 250 km/h (electronically limited)
AMG Mercedes C-Class racing touring car (W 204)
In 2007, Mercedes-Benz presented the corresponding racing touring car for the DTM together with the new C-Class of the 204 model series. Even though there were no changes to the DTM race rules versus the 2006 season, the development effort at HWA for the new DTM car was very substantial. The vehicle was further improved in the ensuing years, however the close constraints of the race rules only allowed detailed refinements. In the 2010 season too, Mercedes-Benz competed with cars that were technically substantially the same as in the previous year. However in that season, in achieving the first three places in the driver rating headed by Gary Paffett, Mercedes-Benz showed that the highly precise coordination of even the finest parameters is decisive for success.
Technical data – AMG Mercedes C-Class racing touring car (W 204)
DTM racing: 2007-2010
Displacement: 4,000 cc
Output: 368 kW (500 hp)
Top speed: over 280 km/h
Brand ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 2014 Retro Classics show
Born on 12 October 1950 in Altingen
Trained as a master automotive mechanic, Roland Asch began his motor racing career as a hobby, but achieved victories like a professional: after winning the German Hill-Racing Championship in 1981 and the German Motor Racing Trophy in 1983, he had his debut in the German Touring Car Championships (DTM) in 1985. In 1988, he became DTM vice-champion with the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 of the BMK team. In the late 1980s, he won the overall rating in the Porsche 944 Turbo Cup three times, and in 1991 the championship title in the Porsche Carrera Cup. In the early 1990s, he achieved a total of five wins and various good placings in the DTM for Mercedes-Benz. In 1993, he became DTM vice-champion for the second time, and in 1995 moved to Ford in the Super Touring Car Cup. Roland Asch remains very closely associated with Mercedes-Benz as a brand ambassador.
Born on 12 April 1965 in Mönchengladbach
Ellen Lohr came to motor sports from the kart racing scene, where she was active from 1979 to 1983. Her greatest successes were participation in the Junior Kart World Championships and a 1st place in the north-west German Kart Championships. After competing in the German Formula Ford 1600 series (German lady champion in 1987), and first participating in the DTM (BMW) and German Formula 3 Championships with VW in 1989/90, she was engaged for the German Touring Car Championships by the AMG-Mercedes team. For the 1995 season, she moved to the Mercedes-Zakspeed team, and in 1996 drove for the AMG-Mercedes team Persson MS. Ellen Lohr is the only woman to date to have achieved a DTM victory, which she won in May 1992 at the motor racing festival in Hockenheim with an AMG-Mercedes 2.5-16 Evolution II. In 1997, she competed in the European Truck Racing Championships, driving a Mercedes-Benz racing truck. Subsequently Ellen Lohr was active in numerous other race series, including the Paris–Dakar Rally from 2005 and back in truck racing from 2012.
Paul di Resta
Born on 16 April 1986 in Uphall, Scotland
The Scottish racing driver began his career in kart racing in 1994. In 2000, he won the title 'McLaren-Mercedes Kart Champion of the Future'. From 2002, he competed in the British Formula Renault, moving to the Formula 3 Euro series in 2005 and becoming champion in 2006. From the 2007 season onward, Paul di Resta competed in the DTM for the Mercedes-Benz team Persson Motorsport. In his first DTM season, di Resta won a place on the rostrum four times, achieving 5th place in the overall rating. In 2008, di Resta drove for the HWA team in a current DTM C-Class, winning 2nd place in the overall rating. This achievement included two victories (EuroSpeedway Lausitz and in Barcelona), and he was second across the line in five races. In his third season as a Mercedes-Benz DTM driver for HWA, di Resta won 3rd place in the overall rating. In 2010, the Scot celebrated his greatest triumph to date, winning the DTM championship title ahead of his team colleagues Gary Paffett and Bruno Spengler. All in all, di Resta won three DTM races in that season, achieving 2nd place in four races. From 2011 to 2013, di Resta competed in Formula 1 for the Sahara Force India-Mercedes team. He achieved a total of 121 world championship points in 58 Grand Prix races. For the 2014 season, the 2010 champion is returning to the DTM, driving a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Class Coupé.
Born on 20 July 1964 in St. Ingbert
The five-times DTM Champion Bernd Schneider achieved his first motor sport successes in kart racing and in Formula 3, also competing in Formula 1, in the Le Mans 24-Hour Race and in the FIA GT Championship, which he won in 1997. The DTM was to become the stage where he would celebrate his most spectacular victories: Schneider joined the AMG-Mercedes team in 1992, winning the DTM championship title for the team in 1995 after having come third in the overall rating in 1992 and 1993. Following the revival of the DTM as the German Touring Car Masters in 2000, Schneider was Champion in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2006. He was also vice-champion in 2002. Bernd Schneider is still closely associated with the Mercedes-Benz, and is active for the company as a test driver and brand ambassador.
Born on 1 April 1989 in Gerolstein
Christian Vietoris began his motor sport career in kart racing in 2000, at the age of 11, winning numerous early victories. In 2005, he moved to formula racing as a support candidate for the Formula BMW ADAC Championship. In 2006, he won the German Formula BMW, also achieving victory in the world final of the Formula BMW in Valencia and in the German Post Speed Academy. In 2007 and 2008, Vietoris successfully competed in Formula 3 and the former A1GP series. In 2009, Vietoris drove in the GP2 Asia series, and in 2010 in the international GP2 series. His racing victories include Abu Dhabi (2009) and Monza (2010). From 2011 onward, Christian Vietoris has been a member of the Mercedes-Benz driver team in the DTM. In his first season he drove the AMG-Mercedes C-Class for the Persson Motorsport team, moving to HWA for the 2012 season. In 2013, Vietoris achieved his best DTM season results to date for HWA, with 3rd places in Hockenheim, Lausitzring (starting from pole position), Norisring (fastest lap), and Nürburgring. He finished the 2013 season as 4th in the overall rating.