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  • Fritz Erle (number 68) won the first Prince Heinrich Tour in a 50 PS Benz special touring car. The tour covered 2201 kilometres from 9 to 17 June 1908, taking place in Berlin, Stettin, Kiel, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne and Trier on the way to Frankfurt/Main.
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    Record chasers and champion drivers.

    Mercedes-Benz motorsport anniversaries 2018.

Anniversaries of spectacular championship titles.

For Mercedes-Benz, 2018 is not a year like any other, for this year marks several anniversaries of spectacular championship titles. Eighty years ago, Rudolf Caracciola in the legendary Mercedes-Benz W 154 was crowned European Grand Prix champion for the third time; 20 years ago, Mika Häkkinen won the Formula One world title for the first time, and it was exactly ten years ago that reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton celebrated his first world title.

Later winner Rudolf Caracciola in a Mercedes-Benz 3-litre formula racing car W 154 at the Coppa Acerbo in Pescara.

Later winner Rudolf Caracciola in a Mercedes-Benz 3-litre formula racing car W 154 at the Coppa Acerbo in Pescara.

With three European championship titles and countless victories, Rudolf Caracciola was the most successful racing driver of the pre-war era. Here after his victory in the German Grand Prix in July 1937.

With three European championship titles and countless victories, Rudolf Caracciola was the most successful racing driver of the pre-war era. Here after his victory in the German Grand Prix in July 1937.

One of the most successful racing drivers of all time.

One of the most successful racing drivers of all time achieved immortality in 1938. In the early morning of 28 January 1938 on what is the A 5 autobahn today, Rudolf Caracciola, a Mercedes-Benz factory driver, set a high-speed record of 432.70 km/h on public roads – a record that endured for almost eight decades. Conceived in the 1920s, the HaFraBa expressway (Hamburg – Frankfurt – Basel) was finally opened as a Reichsautobahn in May 1935. It was the scene of the legendary high-speed races between Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, which came to an end with Rudolf Caracciola’s record-making drive and the death of competitor Bernd Rosemeyer in an Auto Union Model R on the same day.

Successful years.

For Caracciola, 1938 was his most successful year not just on account of his spectacular speed record. After 1935 and 1937, it was in the same year that the man from Remagen won his third European Grand Prix championship, comparable with today’s Formula One world championship title. Victorious in the Swiss Grand Prix, Rudolf Caracciola finished second twice and third once in the other three races that counted towards the European championship. His car: the Mercedes-Benz W 154, powered by a three-litre V12 engine with over 450 PS, which had a top speed of up to 310 km/h depending on the transmission and rear-axle configuration. Designed according to the newly introduced three-litre formula, the car dominated the racing action in its very first season, helping Caracciola to his third title.

In 1998, Finland’s Mika Häkkinen, driving for McLaren Mercedes, became Formula One world champion for the first time. Likewise powered by a three-litre engine (this time a V10), the McLaren MP4/13 posted superlative sporting performances on race tracks around the world. Mika Häkkinen finally secured the title ahead of record winner Michael Schumacher and was able to successfully defend his Formula One title at the wheel of the follow-up car, the McLaren MP4/14, which was once again powered by a Mercedes engine. In 161 starts in the top tier of motor sport, the flying Finn registered 20 victories and 51 podium finishes.

At the Mexican Grand Prix in October 2017, Lewis Hamilton secured his fourth Formula One world championship with races to spare – his third title with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team.

At the Mexican Grand Prix in October 2017, Lewis Hamilton secured his fourth Formula One world championship with races to spare – his third title with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team.

The youngest-ever driver.

Last autumn, Lewis Hamilton celebrated his fourth world championship title – the 17th of a British driver. Yet it was ten years ago that the Briton became the youngest-ever driver to win the world championship in his second season in Formula One. In 2007 – the year before – he had finished runner-up at his first attempt. After 1954, 1955, 1998, 1999 and 2014–2016, his 2017 title marked the eighth for the Silver Arrows, which currently take to the starting grid with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team. In a total of 209 starts, Lewis Hamilton has posted 62 victories, 118 podiums and 73 pole positions (as of March 2018).

Years ending in an 8.

With years ending in an 8 seeming to be auspicious for Mercedes-Benz drivers, fans are more excited than ever by the prospects for the 2018 Formula One season. Lewis Hamilton is sure to make every effort to follow up last year’s title with yet another, his fifth. And team colleague Valtteri Bottas, hardly content with playing second fiddle, will likewise go all out for victory. Things could hardly be more exciting.

Mika Häkkinen at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, the final race of the 1998 season, on the way to his first Formula One world title.

Mika Häkkinen at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, the final race of the 1998 season, on the way to his first Formula One world title.

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