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Sep 19, 2013
- Mercedes-Benz Classic starts with original W 25 Silver Arrow
- Rudolf Caracciola’s Klausen Race record unbroken since 1934
At the new edition of the Klausen Race (27 to 29 September 2013) Mercedes-Benz returns to this legendary Swiss hill climb with the pre-war W 25 Silver Arrow in a joint endeavour with IWC Schaffhausen. At the wheel of a vehicle like this Rudolf Caracciola set an all-time record in the 1934 Klausen Race. At the wheel of the world’s last and only roadworthy W 25 will be former racing driver Roland Asch.
The legendary event enters the next round as the 11th International Klausen Race. The race, 27 to 29 September 2013, will be held under the motto “innovation is based on tradition” and ties in with the ten original races held between 1922 and 1934. Mercedes-Benz Classic will be involved together with renowned watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen: the W 25 will start under the team name “IWC Mercedes-Benz Classic”. The collaboration emphasises the unifying tradition of the craft of automaking and the art of watchmaking.
With its participation Mercedes-Benz Classic commemorates a great historic victory: at the last original race on 5 August 1934 Mercedes-Benz works racing driver Rudolf Caracciola piloting his W 25 won the racecar category and with a time of 15:22:20 minutes also set a record that is unbroken on the original course to this very day.
The revolutionary technology in the Mercedes-Benz W 25 ushered in the unparalleled series of successes of the Mercedes racecars. The Silver Arrows from Mercedes-Benz have ever since been world famous as motorsport icons. The W 25 Grand Prix racecar, the first Silver Arrow ever, is considered the instituter of this legend.
The Klausen Race, also known as the “Hill Climb Grand Prix of Switzerland”, is a true classic among hill climbs. The world’s best racing drivers came together in Central Switzerland between 1922 and 1934. On the 21.5-km gravel road that led up to the top of the Klausen Pass the Grand Prix racecars had to be piloted around 136 corners. Spectators from all over the world arrived to witness the spectacle directly from the side of the road. Anyone who conquered the hair-raising Klausen Pass back then as a victor was among the greatest racing drivers.
Flashback: the first appearance of the new Silver Arrow
Starting in February 1934 Mercedes-Benz conducted initial road tests with the new racecar in Monza and on the motorway between Milan and Varese. The vehicle developed in record time reached top speeds in excess of 280 km/h.
The first appearance was planned for the Avus Race in Berlin in May 1934, but technical problems led to cancelling the start at the last moment. As a consequence the new vehicle did not compete until one week later at the International Eifel Race on 3 June on the Nürburgring. The W 25 came to the starting line in silver livery after – legend has it – the racecars were first stripped of their white paint at the Nürburgring for weight reasons. While the 750-kilogram formula did not apply to this race, the company apparently wanted to present a vehicle that already complied with the new rules. The name “Silver Arrow” became established over time.
The vehicle of Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 11th International Klausen Race 2013
Mercedes-Benz W 25 Grand Prix racecar (1934 to 1936)
The development of the Mercedes-Benz W 25 began in 1932; from 1934 it started in the new 750-kilogram formula. This formula specified a maximum weight of 750 kilograms for the vehicle (without operating fluids and tyres) – a measure the organisers intended to restrict the power of the racecars and thus the potential top speeds. For the new racing formula Mercedes-Benz developed a monoposto with a classic vehicle layout powered by a supercharged 3.4-litre in-line eight-cylinder engine: the front engine powered the rear wheels via a transmission on the rear axle. The W 25 raced between 1934 and 1936 and was continuously advanced during that time. The power output of the racecar jumped from initially 260 kW (354 hp) ultimately to 363 kW (494 hp) produced by the M 25 E engine from 1936 – displacement also grew to 4740 cc; the top speed was about 300 km/h.
The driver for Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 11th International Klausen Race 2013
Born on 12 October 1950 in Ammerbuch-Altingen
As a skilled master car mechanic and successful car dealer with his own dealership in Ammerbuch near Tübingen in Germany his passion is not only motorsport, but also the technology that makes motorsport possible. Roland Asch started with slalom races and hill climbs (1976 to 1982), won the title of German Hill Climb Champion in 1981, and continued to garner other victories: three-time winner of the overall standings of the Porsche 944 Turbo Cup (1987/88/89), one-time winner of the Carrera Cup (1989) and his runner-up finish in his début season in the German Touring Car Championship. After competing in the German Racing Championship he débuted in the German Touring Car Championship in 1985. This was followed by engagements in the MS-Mercedes Team in 1989, the Snobeck-Mercedes Team in 1990, for Zakspeed-Mercedes in 1991 and 1992, and in the AMG-Mercedes Team in 1993. In 1992 (Eifel Race, Hockenheim) and 1993 (Diepholz and twice Avus/Berlin) he won a total of five victories and had a number of other good finishes. In 1988 (Mercedes 190 E 2.3-16 with BMK Motorsportteam) and 1993 (Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evo II Class 1) he finished as the runner-up in the German Touring Car Championship with Mercedes-Benz. Since 1995 – after his move to the Super Touring Car Cup – he has been driving for various other racing teams.