Mercedes W125 Silver star Telegraph

16 Фев 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Mercedes-Benz W125

Mercedes W125: Silver

It took 40 years and turbo for any other Formula One racer to the power of the 1937 Mercedes-Benz seen by many as the greatest prix car ever built. The rule-makers of the day had made a mistake, their imposed maximum limit of 750kg (1,653lb) keep power and speed reasonable bounds. They had no that German engineers had the to design a chassis that cope with more 600bhp, let alone a 5.6-litre straight-eight engine that such power.

But the engineers did that, and this is the actual car by Britain’s ace grand prix of the era, Dick Seaman, in the Donington Grand Prix. For its anniversary, it was brought over Stuttgart to perform four runs at Donington for the VSCC’s race meeting. I was asked to it and it proved to be an experience I shall forget.

My feelings, waiting in a Donington pit were of eager anticipation with an appalling sense of This thing is priceless. It is so that not even the directors of are allowed to drive it, that being restricted to the likes of Mass, John Surtees, Alonso and a certain Lewis And now me.

The W125 is tricky and it can’t be slowly, but I had previously tried it at the Festival of Speed hillclimb, so at its central throttle pedal, the brake on the right, held no When the mechanics fired it up, a hand-held external starter, the din drowned the noise of the unsilenced already on the track. It has to be warmed up on spark plugs, which are changed for hard ones can take the punishment of working at effort. It has to be driven hard, or those hard plugs foul up; and you can’t dither on and off the either, as that will in too much fuel and drown out.

With the track clear, I aboard and sat down behind the steering wheel, feet out astride the transmission tunnel. is a big car and I was comfortable in there, feeling small despite my 6ft 5in height. Straub, the senior Mercedes-Benz in charge of the car, asked if I was OK and I a thumbs-up sign as I raised my turned on the magneto switch and first gear. It fired up with a push-start and immediately the twitched out as the tall, narrow wheels spun instantly and the car away down the pit road.

as much power as many supercars but only half the the performance is remarkable, yet my first were of deep respect for the There’s more physical required than in most racing cars, but the steering feels good and the basic of the car, with initial but not understeer, gives a great of security.

On those narrow tyres, its Lockheed drum brakes modest stopping power and it long before I felt locking for a split second, that we were on the limit of ability. Outright stopping wasn’t so important in 1937; mattered with brakes was the distance.

So far so good. I have changed down with action while double-declutching, and into a corner. Now I open the smoothly but deliberately: the engine delivering a vicious mountain of the wheels spin again and the slides out. It is violent and but the superb chassis is designed to all that grunt. Even so, it a bit of nerve to actually do it.

All that wheelspin is not wasted, You can overdo it, and wear out the tyres too as Manfred von Brauchitsch did on the way to second here in 1937, but if you put your down on the middle pedal at the right moment, the W125 rocket out of corners. The de Dion end and the tall tyres maintain traction to keep the throttle and, gradually, the wheelspin away, the car straightens up and continues to eat up the


It felt immensely quick. told I reached about on the straight before the chicane. racing back in 1937, versions of the W125 achieved on the much longer straights of the circuit.

Mercedes-Benz W125

Here at Donington, 70 years Seaman was punted off into the on lap two. With no such behind me, I was able to coast into the pits at the end, but immensely relieved.

Don’t the wall

How come a wretched was allowed out in the W125? Well, it be 70 years since this car ran at Donington, but it’s also 30 since Tom Wheatcroft reopened the I was then a works British driver, racing Broadspeed Dolomite Sprints in what is now as the British Touring Car Championship.

its first 25-lap championship we hired the circuit exclusively and testing there one Tuesday in 1977. Late in the morning, through the Craner Curves at I realised my experimental brake were overheated and not working.

I hit the wall, made of two-ton blocks, it hurt. The car stopped with the engine underneath it, up to the broken wall. My right had a couple of hairline cracks and it was six before I could walk. But I still drive just. A enabled me to win the race five later.

Maybe they’d forgotten accident when they let me out in the

Mercedes-Benz W125
Mercedes-Benz W125
Mercedes-Benz W125

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