Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Nürburgring for the ADAC Eifelrennen

Words Jim Davis | May 09, 2012
The history of Germany’s most traditional motorsport event is an integral part of Mercedes-Benz racing history
Words Jim Davis May 09, 2012

From June 8-10, 2012, Mercedes-Benz Classic will put on an exceptionally fascinating show in the ADAC Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring.  With a history dating back to the year 1922, the ADAC Eifel race, the longest motorsport events in Germany. There is a range of about 70 events so far in 90 years on a par with classics such as the Grand Prix of Germany, France, Italy and Monaco, the 24 hour race in Le Mans or the 500-mile race in Indianapolis. With the Eifel race, names and events, cars and motorcycles as well as numerous anecdotes connected, made history.

Mercedes-Benz rally cars and touring cars from the 1960s and 1970s play just as active a part in the Eifelrennen as the renowned supercharged sports cars from the 1920s. Amongst others, the Stuttgart-based brand will bring to the Nürburgring a 310-hp (228-kW) 1928 Mercedes-Benz SSK (series W 06 III) – the car Klaus Ludwig will drive in the so-called “Elefantenrennen”.

This stage of the ADAC Eifelrennen is reminiscent of the opening race at the Nürburgring in 1927, which Rudolf Caracciola and Adolf Rosenberger won in a dual-victory driving the Mercedes-Benz type S. Hence the honorary title “Champion of the Nürburgring”, which Caracciola earned for himself in the ensuing years.

The 300 SEL 6.8 AMG, which later gained fame as the “Red Sow”, and the classic Mercedes-Benz 300 SE (W 112) rally car will also be driven by other renowned Mercedes-Benz racing drivers, such as Jochen Mass and Dieter Glemser. The AMG Version of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 (W 109) luxury saloon drew attention in 1971 when the red touring car earned first place in its class and a second-place ranking in the overall classification at the 24 Hour Race of Spa-Francorchamps. Outfitted largely with standard equipment, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE carried on the brand’s brilliant motorsport tradition in the 1960s above all with numerous rally victories.

The “fintails” were also successful on the circuit. The 220 SE (W 111) rebuilt by Mercedes-Benz Classic, which will compete in the three-hour race for the Dunlop FHR long-distance cup, is a reminder of this success. Jochen Mass will be behind the wheel during this stage. Thus the Eifelrennen marks a new high point in the partnership between Mercedes-Benz Classic and the Fahrergemeinschaft Historischer Rennsport e. V. (FHR). Founded in 1983, the FHR has been promoting historic motorsport for almost 30 years and has made a significant contribution to the popularity of the current racing series with historic competition vehicles.

The ADAC Eifelrennen has been held at the Nürburgring since the opening of the legendary race track in 1927. But the event’s roots stretch back even further – from 1922 to 1926, contenders raced in a circuit around the town of Nideggen in what was called the ADAC Eifelrundfahrt-Rennen. The Eifelrennen also marked the birth of the iconic Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows. In 1934, type W 25 racing cars appeared here for the first time not in the usual white livery, but with their shiny aluminium bodywork exposed.

In 2009, ADAC relaunched the Eifelrennen as an event for vintage motorcars. With a variety of competitions for different classes and a multitude of sideshow events, the event provides an exceptional stage for the highly active scene of historic motorsport. It will also include the presentation of some 70 club vehicles by Mercedes-Benz Classic in the paddock and the big club meeting in the Mercedes arena, with an expected turn-out of over 500 classic cars.

Mercedes-Benz Classic cars at the 2012 ADAC Eifelrennen

Mercedes-Benz SSK 27/170/225 hp (series W 06 III), 1928

Of the six-cylinder supercharged sports cars in the Mercedes‑Benz S model series, type SSK (series W 06 II, W 06 III and WS 06) is the most exclusive and most fascinating version. The model designation stands for Super-Sport-Kurz (Super Sport, Short), emphasising the shorter wheelbase alongside its particularly sporty character. In the summer of 1928, works team driver Rudolf Caracciola raced the brand-new SSK to victory at the Gabelbach race and races on the mountains of Schauinsland and Mont Ventoux. In 1930 and 1931, the SSK helped him win the European Hill Climb Championship. The weight-reduced, further modified 1931 version, also known as the SSKL (Super-Sport-Kurz-Leicht (Super Sport, Short, Light), W 06 RS), also achieved spectacular victories. The win at the legendary “Mille Miglia” 1000-mile race was one of the most important of these. In April 1931, Rudolf Caracciola was the first non-Italian to win this gruelling road race from Brescia to Rome and back.

Technical data for Mercedes-Benz model series SSK 27/170/225 hp (W 06 III) road-going version

  • Production period: 1928-1930
  • Cylinder: 6/in-line
  • Displacement: 7065 cc
  • Performance: 170 hp (123 kW), with supercharger 225 hp (166 kW) at 3300 rpm
  • Maximum speed: 192 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111) “FHR fintail”

To commemorate the motorsport successes of the period and to keep the tradition of the brand’s exceptional racing history alive while also making historic motorsport even more attractive for private drivers, Mercedes-Benz Classic reconstructed a type 220 SE “fintail” saloon (series W 111) in 2011, for use in historic motorsport events . The car meets the regulations of the FIA International Sporting Code, Appendix K (FIA – Féderation Internationale de l’Automobile). The vehicle is used in particular for the Dunlop FHR long-distance cup held by the Fahrergemeinschaft Historischer Rennsport e. V. (FHR) – the world’s biggest historical long-distance racing series as per Appendix K. True to practice for the 1960’s, the competition car closely resembles the production model from a technical standpoint. The usual modifications included stiffer suspension elements and body components, a larger fuel tank and an engine performance tuned specifically for the intended use.

Technical data for Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111) “FHR fintail”

  • Production period: 1959-1965
  • Cylinder: 6/in-line
  • Displacement: 2195 cc
  • Performance: 120 hp (88 kW) at 4800 rpm
  • Maximum speed: approx. 170 km/h

Mercedes-Benz 300 SE (W 112) rally car

From Argentina to Germany, the rally-car version of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE dominated the touring car scene in the years 1963 and 1964. As with all other Mercedes-Benz motorcars from the period which competed in rallies, the large “fintail” saloons were modelled closely on their standard counterparts. Daimler-Benz AG also used this fact as a selling point for the production saloons. But the saloons underwent certain modifications, depending on how they were to be used. These included reinforced chassis elements, a larger fuel tank, and changes to the engine performance, for instance, by lowering the compression ratio to achieve better engine reliability. There were also variations in the gearbox and axle ratios.

Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE (W 112) rally car

  • Production period: 1963-1964
  • Cylinder: 6/in-line
  • Displacement: 2996 cc
  • Performance: 195 hp (143 kW) (production version: 160 hp/118 kW; from 1964: 170 hp /125 kW)
  • Maximum speed: over 200 km/h (production version: 175 km/h to 195 km/h, depending on year of construction and rear axle ratio)

Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG (W 109)

At the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 AMG touring race car, Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz won a surprising class victory and second place in the overall classification on 24 July 1971 in the 24-hour race at Spa, Belgium. The winning car was developed by the then-virtually unknown AMG, founded in 1967 by Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher under the name “Ingenieursbüro, Konstruktion und Versuch zur Entwicklung von Rennmotoren” (engineer’s office, construction and testing for the development of racing engines). The modified vehicle was based on the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3. With an output of 184 kW (250 hp), the car was absolutely unrivalled in its time. But Aufrecht and Melcher made the fastest German series production car of the period even more powerful: engine capacity grew from 6330 to 6835 cc and the performance of the improved V8 engine increased to 315 kW (428 hp). The race win at Spa marked the breakthrough for AMG and would be followed by further victories. The original car from 1971 no longer exists, but in 2006, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG was re-developed in a detailed reconstruction.

Technical data for Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG (W 109)

  • Production period: 1971
  • Cylinder: V8
  • Displacement: 6835 cc
  • Performance: 315 kW(428 hp)
  • Maximum speed: 265 km/h

Drivers for Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 2012 Eifelrennen

Dieter Glemser

Born in Kirchheim/Teck on 28 June 1938.

Dieter Glemser’s career in the fast lane began with the Schorndorf Hill Climb race in 1960. Many class victories followed in various mountain and circuit races on the Nürburgring.

Glemser began racing for Daimler-Benz AG in 1963, winning overall in a Mercedes 220 SE at the Poland Rally and taking second place in both the Germany Rally (including a class win) and the Grand Prix of Argentina. In the following year, too, Glemser participated in the triple victory of the Böhringer/Kaiser, Glemser/Braungart and Rosqvist/Falk teams at the Grand Prix of Argentina.

Glemser celebrated victory once again in 1971 with a European Champion title for Ford in the touring car championships and a win at the 24-hour Spa-Francorchamps event. He also held the title of German Motor Sport Champion in 1973 and 1974. However, following a severe accident caused by tyre damage at the Macau Touring Car Race, Southeast China, in November 1974, he decided to end his active motorsport career.

For ten years from 1990, Dieter Glemser was a member of the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport team, and as hed of department, he was responsible for the organisation. From 2001 to 2008, he worked on a freelance basis for Mercedes-AMG and Daimler AG for sport and driver safety training as well as at Classic events. He continues to drive at Mercedes-Benz Classic events to this day.

Klaus Ludwig

Born in Bonn on 5 October 1949.

Klaus Ludwig started in motorsport by competing in slalom races, orienteering excursions and touring car races from 1970 to 1973. He went on to achieve high rankings in the German Racing Championship and secured victories here in 1979 and 1981, in addition to three wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979, 1984 and 1985.

In 1988, he won the German Touring Car Championship with Ford, then joined the AMG-Mercedes team in 1989, driving to victory 19 times in the five years that followed. The high points of his career were the driver’s title in the championships of 1992 and 1994 as well as a second place finish in 1991 – successes which earned him the nickname “King Ludwig”. In 1995 and 1996, Klaus Ludwig competed in the German Touring Car Championship for Opel’s Team Rosberg.

In 1997 and 1998, Ludwig was once again driving for Mercedes-Benz, this time in the FIA GT Championship, winning the overall ranking together with Ricardo Zonta in 1998. In the first season of the new German Touring Car Championship, he was the oldest contender to date to win a race, in 2000, and concluded the season in third place overall in a Mercedes-Benz CLK. When the season was over, he ended his active career as a professional racing driver.

Jochen Mass

Born in Dorfen near Wolfratshausen/Munich on 30 September 1946.

Jochen Mass, originally a trained seaman, began his richly varied motorsport career in 1968 racing touring cars for Alfa-Romeo and as a works team driver for Ford between 1970 and 1975. During this time, he won the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (1972). At the same time, he drove in Formula 2 (1973) and in 105 Formula 1 Grand Prix races (1973/74 for Surtees; 1975-1977 for McLaren; 1978 for ATS; 1979/80 for Arrows; 1982 for March).

With the 1985 German Sports Car Championship title and a stint as a works driver at Porsche until 1987 under his belt, he was recruited for the Sauber-Mercedes team, also as a works driver. He drove in Group C for this team until 1991. In the new Silver Arrow, the Sauber-Mercedes C 9, Jochen Mass won the 24 Hours of Le Mans together with Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens and finished runner-up in the 1989 World Championship. Three years later, Mass became involved in team management for the German Touring Car Championship.

Sir Stirling Moss described him as “a highly skilled driver with an incredible feel for race cars and in-depth knowledge of motorsport of all ages”. Jochen Mass still represents Mercedes-Benz at historical racing events and at vintage super sports car events such as the ADAC Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring. Whether in a Silver Arrow W 165 or a Mercedes-Benz SSK, Jochen Mass knows and drives them all.