1955 was a year of top-drawer motorsport.
Juan Manuel Fangio won his second Formula One world title in a Mercedes-Benz W 196 R. Werner Engel was the European Touring Car Champion in his 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198) production sports car, and Paul O’Shea won the US Class D Sports Car Championship. The shining star of the World Sports Car Championship was the 300 SLR (W 196 S). Closely related to the Formula One racer, this was the car entered by Mercedes-Benz for the six-race series.
The brand decided against contesting the first two races, the 1000 Kilometres of Buenos Aires on 22 January 1955 and the 12 Hours of Sebring on 13 March 1955, so allowing the competition to open up a lead in the rankings, which Mercedes-Benz had to make up in the remaining four races.