High-calibre examples of classic and modern sports car construction.
'If that had entered into series production ...“, pondered Klaus Ludwig looking at the C 111. The Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador wasn't the only one who started raving at the Schloss Bensberg Supersports Classics (SBSC). No wonder: At the rally on Saturday, 1 July, and the Concours on Sunday, 2 July, there were a number of high-calibre examples of classic and modern sports car construction to be admired that are a rare sight – including four highlights from Stuttgart and Affalterbach.
Everything ready for the Schloss Bensberg Supersports Classics in front of a magnificent backdrop.
Roadster defies the rain I: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster in rally duty through the Bergische Land region.
Automotive icons from legendary to visionary.
'Sports cars only' was the theme of this year's car meet at Bensberg Palace. For the first time, invitations were extended to current super sports cars in addition to classic cars and late-model classics. Mercedes-Benz Classic sent two eye-catchers in a class of their own to the Bergische Land region: a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198) and the visionary experimental vehicle C 111 from the year 1970. Two Mercedes-AMG models provided the link to the present: The Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster launched in spring (combined fuel consumption: 11.4 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 259 g/km) as well as the Mercedes-AMG GT R (combined fuel consumption: 11.4 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 259 g/km).
On a tour through the Bergische Land.
What distinguishes a true super sports car? It wants to be not just admired, but also driven – in any weather! To this end, the organisers included a 260-kilometre tour in the programme. The first vehicles hit the road on Saturday morning at 9:00 am sharp. Behind the wheel of the C 111, Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Klaus Ludwig was looking forward to the excursion – despite the unceasing rain at first. Among others, US actor Vincent De Paul had the privilege to take the co-pilot seat next to Ludwig and read off the pacenotes of the rally roadbook.
DTM legend on the rally route: Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Klaus Ludwig (left) with his co-driver, US actor Vincent De Paul.
Roadster defies the rain II: Jan Seyffarth at the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster.
Rally novices with class victory.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-AMG test and development driver Jan Seyffarth piloted the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster, supported by Daniel Weber as the co-driver, the winner of a readers' competition. A successful combination, as was confirmed after crossing the finish line at Bensberg Palace in the afternoon: Rally novice Seyffarth had perfectly mastered the 12 special stages and was able to finish first in the standings of the 'current super sports cars' category. The best prerequisites for enjoying the evening gala dinner in the effectually illuminated palace even more.
Concentrated elegance in front of a royal backdrop.
Sunday, 2 July, greeted the visitors with better weather and a fascinating Concours d’Elégance in front of the magnificent backdrop of the palace. To this end, all vehicles that participated in the rally the previous day – from pre-war to the current super sports cars – gathered in the large courtyard under the eyes of the celebrity jury and the audience. The event itself deserved an award as much the vehicles: The Schloss Bensberg Supersports Classics 2017 showed that the passion for sports cars is timeless, unites generations, and even defies the rain.
Lots of attention for the vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG at the Concours d’Elégance.
Wings up: Stopover with interview at the rally as part of the Schloss Bensberg Supersports Classics.
'I enjoyed every kilometre.'
Klaus Ludwig: 'I had the honour of driving a great many fantastic cars, but the C 111 had not been among them so far. I now had the opportunity and enjoyed every kilometre. It was very pleasant that the rally was not about speed, but about regularity: The C 111 is virtually irreplaceable, and if possible you want to leave everything undamaged. There is always a certain amount of awe involved when you drive such a unique car.'
'A fantastic experience all around.'
Jan Seyffarth: 'Bensberg Palace was a première for me in every regard: This was my first time here and also the first time I participated in a rally.It was a fantastic experience all around despite the weather: The exclusive palace, the wonderful cars, the many interested people – that did have flair, no doubt. As far as the rally is concerned, it was a completely new experience for me not chasing after new records for once, but driving as steadily as possible. In addition, you have a co-driver with whom you work as a team, which turned out fantastic from the start.'
Successful rally novices: Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Jan Seyffarth (left) and his co-driver Daniel Weber.