From the SSK to the 300 SL – Mercedes-Benz Classic will be represented at this year’s Mille Miglia with ten of its own vehicles. Taking place from 19 to 22 May 2016, the event will be run over a thousand miles from Brescia to Rome and back. Mercedes-Benz Classic is for the first time entering an all-ladies team. Racing driver and new brand ambassador of “She’s Mercedes” Susie Wolff will be sharing the cockpit of a 300 SL with Ellen Lohr. A second premiere is in store for a racing version of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL. A roadster of this model took part in the then road race in 1956 and will once again this year – exactly 60 years later – be at the start for the Mille Miglia.
Stuttgart. A thousand miles through Italy together with automotive fascination in the unique historic footsteps of motor sport: that’s the Mille Miglia regularity race, which is held in memory of the road race that took place from 1927 to 1957 (and which was won by Mercedes-Benz in both 1931 and 1955).
The Stuttgart-based brand, automotive sponsor of the Mille Miglia, is closely associated with this legendary competition. Once again in 2016, Mercedes-Benz Classic will underscore the brand’s intimate ties with the culture and tradition of the Mille Miglia by fielding a strong presence in the starting line-up. Originating from the company’s own collection, the classic automobiles will be representative of all the Mercedes-Benz vehicles that participated in the then sporting competition in the era of the road race. For instance, supercharged SS and SSK touring cars will recall the victory of Rudolf Caracciola with Wilhelm Sebastian in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL in 1931. The Mercedes-Benz SS will this year be piloted by brand ambassador Bernd Mayländer.
A new milestone will be set by Mercedes-Benz Classic with its first-ever ladies team. The Mercedes-Benz drivers Susie Wolff and Ellen Lohr will team up for the thousand-mile race in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198). For Wolff, the Mille Miglia will be her first appearance as new brand ambassador for the Daimler initiative She’s Mercedes, with which the Stuttgart-based automotive manufacturer aims to put a stronger emphasis on the needs of women.
She’s Mercedes is the name of an initiative targeted at women. It combines an internet platform with exclusive event formats at different locations, sales staff training and the development of new services and mobility offerings. All activities are focused on dialogue – for both sides. The She’s Mercedes network allows successful women to exchange views, develop new ideas and make contacts. She’s Mercedes also brings the Mercedes brand world closer to women while learning more about their mobility needs.
With their participation in the Mille Miglia, the ladies team of Wolff/Lohr will recall the successful history of Mercedes-Benz female racing drivers, which dates back to the 1920s. For example, Ernes Merck in her Mercedes-Benz S finished second behind Rudolf Caracciola in the international Klausen Race of 1927, while Ewy Rosqvist with Ursula Wirth was victorious in, among others, the 1962 Touring Grand Prix of Argentina.
Second premiere for the 190 SL
The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL is making its debut in this year’s Mille Miglia regularity race. It was only in 2015 that automotive historians provided definitive proof that the compact roadster was at the start for the legendary road race in 1956. This makes it an original participating vehicle in the Mille Miglia, which is a requirement that must be met by a vehicle model before it becomes eligible to take part in this high-profile regularity event. Alongside the vehicle entered by Mercedes-Benz Classic, a racing version of the elegant sports car, four other, privately owned 190 SLs will be there at the start. Mercedes-Benz’s factory team also includes six 300 SLs (W 198), a 220 a (W 180) and a 180 D (W 120). A total of over 30 Mercedes-Benz classic cars will participate in this year’s running of the regularity race.
The route for the Mille Miglia covers 1600 kilometres from Brescia to Rome and back. The programme begins with the technical inspection in Brescia on 17 May (Tuesday). The first stage, on 19 May (Thursday), takes the contestants from Brescia via Sirmione, Ferrara and Ravenna to Rimini. On 20 May (Friday), the race continues through San Marino back to the Adriatic coast and across the Apennines to Rome. The following Saturday (21 May) sees the challenging stage via Viterbo, Florence, Bologna and Modena to Parma. The fourth and final stage, on 22 May (Sunday), will take the participants from Parma via Cremona, Monza and Bergamo back to Brescia. The field for the Mille Miglia 2016 is made up of 665 vehicles from 40 countries. Of those, 70 already took part in the Mille Miglia in the days in which it was a road race.
Owing to its unique concentration of outstanding historical vehicles, the Mille Miglia is regarded by classic enthusiasts as a very special museum on wheels. Yet, as the race progresses through Italy, the culture of sporting mobility will also be carried forward into the future, because the 1000-mile event will also play host to the Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge, which will take place ahead of the regularity race. The Challenge will be contested by various SL generations, numerous Mercedes-AMG and AMG vehicles, as well as other historically especially valuable models from the brand history of Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes-Benz drivers at the Mille Miglia 2016
Born on 12 April 1965 in Mönchengladbach, Germany
Ellen Lohr came to motorsport via karting, in which she was active from 1979 to 1983. Her greatest triumphs were taking part in the Junior Karting World Championship as well as 1st place in the Northwest German Regional Karting Championship. After competing in the German Formula Ford 1600 series (German Champion in 1987) and first races in the DTM (BMW) and German Formula 3 Championship with VW in 1989/90, she was signed up by the AMG-Mercedes team for the German Touring Car Championship. Ellen Lohr is the first and only woman to date to have achieved a DTM victory, which she won in May 1992 at the motor racing festival in Hockenheim at the wheel of an AMG-Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II. For the 1995 season, she moved to the Mercedes-Zakspeed team, and in 1996 drove for the AMG-Mercedes Persson MS team. In 1997, she competed in the European Truck Racing Championship at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz racing truck. Subsequently, Ellen Lohr has continued to be actively involved in numerous other racing series, including the Paris–Dakar Rally since 2005 and again in truck racing since 2012.
Born on 29 May 1971 in Waiblingen
Bernd Mayländer makes regular appearances in Formula One at the front of the field. That’s because the racing driver, born in Waiblingen in 1971, has since 2000 been the official driver of the Mercedes-Benz Formula One safety car – currently a Mercedes-AMG GT S (C 190). Mayländer began racing in 1990, first taking part in Porsche Club Sport, Porsche Carrera Cup (overall victory in 1994) and Porsche Super Cup as well as in long-distance races. Driving for the Persson Motorsport team, from 1995 he participated initially in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) and the International Touring Car Championship (ITC), while, from 1997, he drove an AMG-Mercedes CLK-GTR in the FIA GT Championship, in which, together with Klaus Ludwig and Bernd Schneider, he won the 1997 race in Spielberg in an AMG-Mercedes CLK-GTR. In 2000, he was victorious in the 24 Hours Nürburgring at the wheel of a Porsche 996 GT3. Bernd Mayländer contested his final DTM season in 2004 as a member of the Rosberg team driving a Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Susie Wolff is equally at home in the cockpits of DTM and Formula 1 racing cars. Born as Susie Stoddart in Oban on the west coast of Scotland in 1982, she began her racing career at the age of eight, initially in karting. Her parents, the owners of a motorcycle business, awakened their daughter’s interest in sporty vehicles early on: she was not yet three years old when she was given a small quadbike as a present. Moreover, both her father and grandfather competed in motorcycle races, and brought the petite young girl into contact with the motor racing world at an early age. Susie Stoddart’s commitment to kart racing became a British success story. In 2000 she entered formula racing, competing in Formula Ford, Formula Renault and British Formula 3. Susie was twice nominated for the prestigous “British Young Driver of the Year Award”. Mercedes-Benz engaged Susie Stoddart for the 2006 season as a works driver for the German Touring Car Championship. For six years she drove for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series. In 2011 she married Toto Wolff, who became head of motor sport at Mercedes-Benz in 2013. In 2012 Susie Wolff’s dream of a cockpit in Formula 1 came true, when she was engaged as a development driver for the British Williams F 1 racing stable until the end of 2015. Since 2016 Wolff is brand ambassador for the Daimler initiative She’s Mercedes, with which the Stuttgart-based automotive manufacturer aims to put a stronger emphasis on the needs of women.