The most successful racing sports car of the 1955 motor sport season is making a sensational gala appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed: 60 years after the Mille Miglia victory by Stirling Moss driving a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, the world’s largest automotive garden party is celebrating the British racing icon Moss and his erstwhile team colleague Hans Herrmann in their authentic silver racing sports cars from 25 to 28 June 2015.
“Seven original Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports cars reunited with the racing drivers of that era at the fascinating Festival of Speed – a unique reminiscence of the 1955 motor racing season,” says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic and the Customer Centre. “We are very pleased to be celebrating the 60th anniversary of this most successful season in the motor sport history of Mercedes-Benz together with Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann, and with the six 300 SLRs from our vehicle collection plus the 300 SLR from the French national motor car museum in Mulhouse.”
Only nine of the 300 SLR racing sports car with which Mercedes-Benz immediately won the 1955 world sports car championship were built. Eight of these 300 SLRs have survived, six of them in the care of the Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicle collection and marked by very different biographies. Apart from the outstandingly successful open racing sports cars of 1955 with chassis numbers 1 to 6, the exclusive family of cars in the W 196 S series includes two coupés intended for long-distance competition, though they never actually raced. They have chassis numbers 7 and 8. The car with chassis number 10 had modified technical features with a view to the 1956 season. The latest research shows that there was never a car with chassis number 9.
In Goodwood, Mercedes-Benz Classic is presenting the cars with chassis numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 (the last on loan from Cité de l’Automobile, Collection Schlumpf in France), 7, 8 and 10. Accordingly the 2015 Festival of Speed will provide a comprehensive insight into the different development stages of the W 196 S in the exciting ambience of past motor racing eras. As a special highlight, Sir Stirling Moss will be reunited with the 300 SLR bearing chassis number 4. It was in this very car, still in original condition, that Moss won the 1955 Mille Miglia – the 300 SLR’s very first race outing – in the best time ever achieved for the 1000-mile race. To commemorate this victory, the car in Goodwood bears the legendary start number 722 with which Moss and his co-driver Denis Jenkinson took to the starting ramp for the Mille Miglia at 7.22 a.m. on 1 May 1955.
Historical authenticity – right up close
Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann were two of the drivers who contributed greatly to the outstanding success of Mercedes-Benz in the 1955 motor racing season. The reunion of these two veterans with the seven 300 SLRs at the 2015 Festival of Speed amounts to a fascinating and authentic journey through time. Visitors will experience at first hand how perfect interaction between man and machine still works its magic 60 years on: after more than six decades, both Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann will take to the wheel of their 1955 racing sports cars and drive them on the hill circuit. With his victories in the Mille Miglia, the International Tourist Trophy (with John Cooper Fitch) and the Targa Florio (with Peter Collins), Sir Stirling Moss in particular stands for the race history of the 300 SLR. But in 1955 Hans Herrmann too was a hot favourite for victory in the Mille Miglia, until he was forced to retire by an unfortunate defect when in second place.
In addition to Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann, other Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassadors such as Klaus Ludwig, Jochen Mass, Sir Jackie Stewart, and Susie Wolff will be guests at the 2015 Festival of Speed. The 22nd Festival of Speed will be held from 25 to 28 June 2015 on the estate of the Earl of March and Kinrara in Goodwood (Sussex, England). The motto for this year is “Flat-Out and Fearles”. All in all, the organisers are expecting well over 600 exclusive vehicles and around 150,000 visitors.
Known as “the world’s largest automotive garden party”, the Festival first held in 1993 celebrates the culture and beauty of sporty motor cars and motorcycles against the grand backdrop of Goodwood House. The centrepiece of the Festival are racing and sports cars presenting a veritable symphony of motor racing history and speed. The highlights are the runs on the historic hill circuit beginning from 8.45 a.m. on all three days, as well as the driver’s paddock open to all visitors and providing an unrivalled close-up view of exclusive sports cars from all eras and categories. There are also numerous accompanying events such as runs on the rally circuit in the estate’s forest, the auctioning of precious classic cars by the auction house Bonhams and a fly-past by the Red Arrows display team of the Royal Air Force.
The Formula 1 world champions meet the heroes of 1955
Mercedes-Benz Classic has a strong, longstanding partnership with the Festival of Speed. In 2014, to mark 120 years of Mercedes-Benz motor sport, the Stuttgart-based brand presented numerous winners of famous racing victories from the company’s collection in Goodwood. It was also in 2014 that the sculptor Gerry Judah dedicated his “Central Feature” to the unique motor racing history of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Accompanying the original racing cars and racing sports cars from the Mercedes-Benz vehicle collection, many private collectors will by tradition be presenting their outstanding classics and helping the brand’s motor sports history to shine once again.
This powerful historical narrative is counterbalanced by the power the brand represents in modern times: in 2015, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team will be among the guests in Goodwood. The reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and his team colleague Nico Rosberg will meet up with the motor racing heroes of 1955. Current Mercedes-Benz sports cars and Mercedes-AMG models will also appear in the “Moving Motor Show” on 25 June. Since 2010, the Festival of Speed has always started on a Thursday, with the procession of sporty motor cars.
Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic