Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR and SLS AMG GT Going to Goodwood 2013

Words Jim Davis | March 21, 2013
The 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed will host the 300 SLR race car and modern day counterpart, SLS AMG GT
Words Jim Davis March 21, 2013

This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will play host to some amazing vehicles this year. Most notable are the “Uhlenhaut Coupé”, better known as the 300 SLR (W 196 S) racing car and it’s modern day counter part, the SLS AMG GT. The Goodwood Festival of Speed runs from July 11-14.

“The ‘Uhlenhaut Coupé’ is a special part of Mercedes-Benz’s fascinating motor sport history. It is closely related to the 300 SLR racing car in which Stirling Moss and John Cooper Fitch won the British International Tourist Trophy in 1955, for example. Mercedes-Benz Classic is proud to take this exclusive vehicle to Goodwood, together with other outstanding racing cars from the history of our brand,” said Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic.

Two examples of this racing prototype with gullwing doors were made for the 1956 season. However, they were never used for racing as Mercedes-Benz withdrew from the sports car world championship after winning the title in 1955. The legendary engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, former head of car development for Mercedes-Benz and father of the 300 SLR and other models, used the Coupé in the following years as his company car, earning it the nickname “Uhlenhaut coupé”. He made a number of long journeys all over Europe in this super sports car. The car was fitted with a silencer to the side exhaust pipe to make it legal for driving on roads.

Imperial racing sport tradition at the Festival of Speed

At the Festival of Speed in July 2013, another vehicle from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection will join the stars: a Benz special saloon which was built especially for the 1910 Prince Heinrich Tour. Together with another “Prince Heinrich car” from the Dutch Louwman Museum it has been elaborately restored. The two vehicles were first presented to the public again at the beginning of 2013 as faithful witnesses of motor sports back in the time of the German empire. The car from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection reached the finishing line of the 1910 Prince Heinrich Tour in 11th place, and then in the same year it also went on the Tsar Nicholas Tour. The car still has the modified engine which the racing car was fitted with for this race in Russia.

Tartan patterned Silver Arrow

Other motor sport highlights at the Goodwood Festival of Speed will be provided by the Grand Prix racing cars from the Silver Arrow epochs, such as the W 154 (1938 to 1939) and the W 196 (1954 to 1955), and also a Mercedes-Benz 1834 S racing truck from 1993. Finally, a Benz patent motor car will enhance the atmosphere at Goodwood, which is particularly steeped in the spirit of historic car racing.

Besides Jochen Mass, it is expected that this top historic motor sport event will also be graced by Jackie Stewart at the wheel of a classic Mercedes-Benz Monoposto. The legendary Scottish racing driver is due to drive a W 154 “Silver Arrow” along the 1.86 kilometre long course. The seat cover of the Silver Arrow will be in special “Stewart Racing Tartan”: this pattern in the style of Scottish clan tartans was designed especially for Jackie Stewart’s Formula One team.

The 1834 S racing truck is also an original from the extensive Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicle collection. It won the European Championship for Mercedes-Benz three times in a row in the mid-1990s, piloted by racing drivers Steve Parrish (1994 and 1996) and Slim Borgudd (1997).

High office of historical motor sports

The classic racing cars from Mercedes-Benz Classic are regular visitors to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. A central item on the programme is the “Hill Climb”, which for twenty years has always been held in the grounds of Goodwood House in West Sussex, the stately home of the Earl of March and Kinrara, built in the 18th century. In addition to the hill climb, other races are held on a rally circuit in the forest.

The Festival of Speed was founded twenty years ago as a tribute to the racing sport history of Goodwood, which was based on a private hill race dating back to the 1930s. After the Second World War, Lord March’s family also set up a circuit on the military airfield which had since been built in Goodwood. Races were held on it until 1966. The “Goodwood Revival” has been held every autumn in recent years on this circuit, with many points of contact with old times.

In 2013, more than 185,000 visitors are expected to attend the Festival of Speed. This year, the organisers are placing a particular emphasis on Goodwood’s own history: the memorial of highlights of twenty years of Festival of Speed will form the leitmotif for this dramatisation of the history of the automobile.

“The time has simply flown by!,” said Lord March, the festival’s founder, in October 2012, looking back on the previous two decades. This era in Goodwood has been exceedingly rich in highlights of motor sport history – and time and again, vehicles with the Mercedes-Benz trademark on the radiator have provided moments of glory.