At the fifth Solitude Revival, Mercedes-Benz Classic will bring the great age of motorsport back to life on the legendary Stuttgart circuit with famous racing vehicles and drivers. Among the vehicles on show are the Mercedes-Benz Model S from 1927 and the AMG 300 SEL 6.8 from 1971, which was based on a Mercedes-Benz luxury-class saloon. The drivers in attendance will be Dieter Glemser, Hans Herrmann, Jochen Mass and Jan Seyffarth. The Solitude Revival starts on the Friday (21 July 2017) with the presentation of the participating vehicles. This will be followed on the Saturday and Sunday (22/23 July 2017) by numerous races of classic automobiles and motorcycles on the 11.7-kilometre circuit.
This circuit lies at the heart of the brand’s racing history: the Solitude Ring in Stuttgart is a home track of Mercedes-Benz. It is where, 90 years ago, the Mercedes-Benz Model S, which had been unveiled just a few months previously at the inauguration of the Nürburgring, put on a brilliant show. At the “Around Solitude” race on 18 September 1927, Otto Merz in a Model S won the class for racing cars over three litres displacement, while Willy Walb was triumphant in the class for sports car over five litres.
History is now being repeated: to mark the anniversary, at Solitude Revival 2017 Mercedes-Benz Classic will present a Model S in three races on the Solitude Ring on both the Saturday (22 July 2017) and the Sunday (23 July 2017). On each day, there will be a warm-up from 9.00 until 9.20 am, a demonstration run from 12.55 until 1.25 pm and the “Special Cars (Sponsors)” race from 4.15 until 4.45 pm. The presence of the super sports car, built in 1928, from the Mercedes-Benz collection will revive the age of the legendary S, SS, SSK and SSKL supercharged touring cars. In their day, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, these cars dominated numerous races in Germany and other European countries. Owing to their imposing looks and loudly whining superchargers, the vehicles, which were painted in the German racing colour of white, were reverentially known to fans of motorsport as “White Elephants”.
“Classic Island” and “Mercedes-Benz World”
The appearance of the Model S is part of the Stuttgart brand’s extensive presence at this year’s Solitude Revival, including on the track, at the Seehaus and in the paddock. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the performance brand Mercedes-AMG will be represented by the famous AMG 300 SEL 6.8 racing car from 1971 as well as by an original DTM safety car, which will be driven round the circuit by the racing driver Jan Seyffarth. The Mercedes-AMG GT model family (fuel consumption combined: 11.4-9.3 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 259-216 g/km*) will also be on view. The Stuttgart branch of Mercedes-Benz will be present with, among other things, the Intelligence Drive Parcours, which demonstrates the comprehensive capabilities of present-day assistance systems. At the Seehaus as well as in the South paddock, Mercedes-Benz Classic will also show various ALL TIME STARS vehicles from its own trading platform. ALL TIME STARS, which has been in existence since 2015, is an important contribution by Mercedes-Benz Classic to the active cultivation of the heritage of classic automobiles, from young to pre-war classics.
50 years of Mercedes-AMG
To mark the “50 years of AMG” anniversary, the Mercedes-Benz Museum is staging an extensive special exhibition from 19 October 2017 which is expected to run until April 2018. Milestones of Mercedes-AMG history, such as the AMG 300 SEL 6.8, will be on display. The show will also include some more recent vehicles, such as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG super sports car (model series 197) from 2009, which was independently developed by Mercedes-AMG, as well as current vehicles.
Panel discussions and autograph sessions with racing drivers
The Mercedes-Benz vehicles will be presented and driven on the Solitude Ring by such Brand Ambassadors as Dieter Glemser, Hans Herrmann, Jochen Mass and Jan Seyffarth (official Mercedes-AMG test and development driver) who are also scheduled to engage with the public in panel discussions and autograph sessions organised jointly by Mercedes-Benz Classic and Porsche, which is expected to be represented by Marc Lieb. Outstanding competitors from earlier eras up until the most recent racing times, conversations about motorsport, the Solitude Ring and the cultivation of tradition – the panel discussions and autograph sessions promise to be both highly informative and entertaining.
Fastest lap by Hans Herrmann
The former Silver Arrows racing driver Hans Herrmann has a special association with the Stuttgart track: on 12 October 1953, the youngest of all participating drivers, he set the fastest lap of the day over the 11.7-kilometre circuit in a time of 4 minutes and 52 seconds, the best time at Mercedes-Benz practice and training sessions for the 1954 racing season. Following this exceptional performance in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing car (W 194) for the 1953 season, known by fans as the “Wood Plane” on account of its distinctive front-end design, racing director Alfred Neubauer promoted him to the racing team for the 1954 season. Hans Herrmann is still today closely associated with vehicles with the star on their bonnet. As a Brand Ambassador of Mercedes-Benz Classic, he regularly appears at famous historical motorsport events.
Mercedes-Benz and the Solitude Ring
The Solitude racing track in Stuttgart not only has strong associations with Mercedes-Benz racing history: this shared past dates back even further than the brand, which came into being in 1926. Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) competed on the triangular circuit with its Mercedes racing cars from as early as 1922. The hill climb, which was inaugurated in 1903 for motorcycles, was opened to automobiles in 1922. In the years that followed, the racing cars of Benz as well as the Mercedes vehicles of DMG played a dominant role in many classes.
Already in 1923, a young Mercedes driver won his class in the Solitude hill climb as part of the ADAC Reichs Rally. The world of motorsport was to hear a lot more of this young man, who, in only his second race for the brand with the star, was victorious in three individual categories in his Mercedes 1.5-litre racing car while winning the overall classification for touring cars up to 6 tax hp: his name was Rudolf Caracciola. Benz and DMG vehicles also celebrated other victories. In the following year, for example, Mercedes factory driver Adolf Rosenberger was triumphant in the hill climb.
The first “Around Solitude” race was held in 1925. Otto Merz won the inaugural competition in the class for racing cars up to two litres in a Mercedes two-litre four-cylinder supercharged racing car. This time, Adolf Rosenberger won the class up to 8 tax hp in a Benz two-litre “teardrop” car – the world’s first mid-engined racing car, which was unveiled by the Mannheim-based company in 1923.
One class victory each for Mercedes and Benz in the first “Around Solitude” race over the challenging 22.3-kilometre circuit: from a present-day perspective, this seemed like a taste of things to come. For the merger between DMG and Benz & Cie. in 1926 was to give rise to the Mercedes-Benz brand,
Whose first success at Solitude was not long in coming: on 12 September 1926, Willy Walb was victorious in the class for sports cars over five litres in a Mercedes-Benz Model K. The same race marked Alfred Neubauer’s debut as racing director. In the decades that followed up until 1955, he was to play a leading part in this role in the racing triumphs of Mercedes-Benz.
The Solitude races of that era were true festivals of motorsport. Yet it was not just public interest that was growing steadily, but also the power of the racing cars. For safety reasons, therefore, 1927 – the success year of the Model S – was the last year in which automobiles were allowed onto the 1925 circuit. Mercedes-Benz said goodbye in style, the Model S winning the classes for sports cars over five litres (Willy Walb) and over three litres (Otto Merz).
From 1928, Solitude was to be reserved for motorcycle racing. Even so, at the Solitude Race of 1937 Mercedes-Benz racing driver Hermann Lang was able to demonstrate the Silver Arrow W 125 at full speed to the enthusiastic spectators. A press release from the company at the time stated: “Tripoli winner Hermann Lang, at the wheel of the victorious Mercedes-Benz racing car, will start the International Solitude Race of 1937 by completing several laps of the familiar Solitude track at racing speed. The citizens of Stuttgart will have their first opportunity to admire the thrilling skill of their local driver following his first victory in a major international race as he negotiates this difficult circuit.”
After the Second World War, the Solitude Ring experienced a new heyday. Now, it was not just racing cars that competed over the 11.7-kilometre triangular circuit, which, still in existence today, features numerous curves and differences in height. The Solitude Rally was added in the mid-1950s. It, too, is associated with the names of Mercedes-Benz racing drivers such as Eugen Böhringer and Eberhard Mahle. The Solitude Ring was additionally used by Mercedes-Benz in the 1950s for testing its racing cars as well as for selecting and training its racing drivers. Car racing was reinstated on the circuit in 1949. In the 1960s, even Formula 1 and Formula 2 races were held on the Stuttgart track, adding international sparkle with a star-studded field of competitors. The last race on the Solitude Ring was in 1965. Since 2008, the history of the circuit has been brought back to life by the Solitude Revival.
Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic