The legend of the Silver Arrows
The legend of the Silver Arrows was born on 3rd June 1934 when the W 25 made its racing debut at the Nürburgring after having its paintwork stripped off overnight to reveal the aluminium bodywork underneath. 75 years later, the W 25 returned to the birthplace of the Silver Arrow mystique to celebrate its own jubilee along with four other Mercedes-Benz racing cars. Shortly before the start of the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, Pedro de la Rosa (W 25), Bernd Schneider (W 125), David Coulthard (MP4-13), Alexander Wurz (W 145) and Niki Lauda (W 196) drove one lap around the GP circuit in the Eifel forest. On the Thursday leading up to the GP weekend, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Pilot Lewis Hamilton had already driven a W 25 all the way around the famous Nordschleife (North Loop).
Brief details of the cars:
W 25: The Mercedes-Benz W 25 was the first ever Silver Arrow and triumphed in its maiden race. It had a 3.7-litre eight-cylinder engine which delivered 400 horsepower. The car went on to win three more races in its debut year. In 1935, it posted nine victories and won the European Championship for driver Rudolf Caracciola. In 1936, the W 25 won two more races with Caracciola behind the wheel.
W 125: The Mercedes-Benz W 125 was the successor to the legendary W 25. The new eight-cylinder engine now had an output of 592 horsepower and, just like its predecessor, earned its driver the top podium spot on its first outing. During the 1937 season, there were a total of seven race victories for the W 125, and Caracciola was to win his second European Championship title.
W 154: At 450 horsepower, the new 3-litre engine on board the Mercedes-Benz W 154 was exceptionally powerful. This car simply left the rest of the field standing, recording six victories in 1938 and five more in 1939. Caracciola won the European Championship in its first year and Hermann Lang in its second.
W 196: After an absence of fifteen years, the Silver Arrows returned to GP racing with the Mercedes-Benz W 196 and promptly resumed where they had left off with a string of successes. Juan Manuel Fangio claimed five victories in 1954 and five more in 1955 to win the first two Formula One World Championships for Mercedes-Benz. The legendary Argentinean went on to win a total of five world titles in the highest echelon of motorsport.
MP4-13: The McLaren Mercedes MP4-13 won nine out of 16 races in the 1998 Formula One season for David Coulthard and Mika Häkkinen. Between them, they posted twenty podium finishes, twelve pole positions and nine fastest laps. Mika Häkkinen ended the season as World Champion and McLaren Mercedes took the constructors' title.