The fascination of Mercedes-Benz: Welcome to Stars & Cars 2014.
The sacred sites of motorsport.
Nürburgring, Le Mans, Silverstone, Laguna Seca. I’ve had them all. Legendary race tracks. But it’s always the same, and – to be quite honest – I loathe those tedious journeys to the sacred sites of motorsport. And then when you get there? That typical split second of happiness. After you’ve been listening to the racing cars for what seems like eternity, the bright spots of light flash past you in a fraction of a second. And the winners? You don’t see them at all, or if you do, then just briefly on TV on the winners’ podium.
Every motorsport fan’s dream.
I must confess: For me, there is no place like home. So why can’t the racing cars and their tamers just come to my place?
Drive around the block with me a few times, blacken the tarmac in front of my house with smoking “donuts”, then afterwards have a really good party with me. Wild dreams? Hang on just a minute: Stars & Cars.
The meeting point of all motor racing legends.
It was 29 November 2014. The racing season was over. The racing teams were preparing for next year. All the teams? No, because my prayers had been heard. Everything that has a star on its bonnet made a pilgrimage to Stuttgart on that day, including the drivers and team bosses. But they were not the only ones.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum had driven many of its racing cars from 120 years of motor racing up to the starting post. With all due respect to their age and condition, these treasures were driven exclusively by current and former racing drivers. Because there was cause for celebration.
The Mercedes-Benz motorsport team.
Daimler AG, the best-known company in my home city of Stuttgart, and its MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 team, had literally won all the awards that season.
Drivers’ titles, 4,932 kilometres in the lead (the running-up team only managed 416 kilometres), the highest number of wins and the oh-so-important designer’s title. The first since 1958, by the way.
Concrete walls, pit lane, paddock.
Even the reserved Swabians uncorked the champagne bottles – and I was right in the middle of it, and did not even have to make a tiring journey. I paid a brief visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum and could hardly believe my eyes: Where the Mercedes staff travel to the Untertürkheim works during the week and visitors stream into the Mercedes-Benz Museum, a race track had sprung up overnight. Concrete walls, pit lane, paddock. It was all there. Including the cars.
Legendary racing cars and fabulous successes.
From Formula 3 young new racing drivers to booming SLS AMG GT3 racing cars and high-end DTM touring cars. And that was only the current spectrum. The legendary SLR and its brother with free-standing wheels, the one Juan Manuel Fangio became world champion in, were just as close to hand as the C9 Sauber-Mercedes, which was the Stuttgart engineers’ first car to participate in official motor racing in 1989, where it immediately won THE long-distance race: Le Mans. I was getting goose bumps!
A unique, unparalleled show.
But, as we know, it’s no fun partying on your own. That is why Mercedes-Benz had invited everybody, which meant there were about 50,000 partygoers there, and the music for the party was provided by two cool DJs with hybrid drive: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were the names of the two superstars who delighted the crowds with interviews, autographs and Formula 1 cars with howling V6 turbo engines.
The nice part of it was: There weren’t even any complaints from the neighbours. Quite the opposite! The Formula 1 world champion and the runner-up were applauded as feverishly as they should be for such a joyful champions’ party.
The culmination of a successful season.
Sadly, even the best parties have to come to an end sometime. Stars & Cars finished in classic style: The entire Mercedes-Benz motorsport family was given a proper send-off to their well-earned winter break with a firework display. What a day it had been for all motorsport fans! It’s not often you get a chance to get up close to a fine selection of racing cars in motion and their drivers.