Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Mercedes-Benz W25

Until 1934, three automotive companies dominated Grand Prix racing: Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, and Maserati. Each year, these companies produced racecars that were faster and more powerful than those of the previous year.

The Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR), the controlling body for motor sport in the 1930s, decided to change the requirements for the 1934, 1935, and 1936 Grand Prix seasons. The most important new requirement for the racers was that the maximum weight could not exceed 750 kg, excluding driver, fuel, oil, water, and tires.

The AIACR believed that Grand Prix cars were becoming too fast and reasoned that the change in weight parameters would limit the size of the engines used.

However, the AIACR had not at all taken into consideration the possibility of the manufacturers using new technology and lightweight metallurgy to create yet more powerful, efficient racers.

Mercedes-Benz saw an opportunity to move ahead, promoting their know-how and the sale of their products through Grand Prix racing.

Luigi Fagioli on his way to winning the 1935 Grand Prix de Monaco in the Mercedes-Benz W25.

I did this sketch while waiting for my Halifax flight at gate B05 at the Montréal airport on September 24th. The guy next to me practicing on his guitar; it was great to sketch to this guy's music.

Pen&ink, paint markers and markers on gray archival stock 12"x 9" © Paul Chenard 2012

Mercedes-Benz took a traditional approach with the front-engined rear-drive racer, but also took a serious look at using innovative aerodynamics and lightweight materials to give them an advantage. A steel-blocked 3.36-litre straight-8 supercharged engine powered the new Mercedes W25, and it was wrapped in a beautiful aerodynamic aluminum skin, with all-round independent suspension.

In that first year of the new formula, they won the Coppa Acerbo, the Italian Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix. For 1935, they won 9 major races, giving driver Rudolf Caracciola the European Championship.

1 comment:

ugo capeto said...

there's a great article on the silver arrows that were present at Goodwood 2012 in the current issue of "retroviseurs", a French mag.