In 1976, Nikki Lauda suffered a horrible crash on the Nordschleife and since then, the racetrack was declared too dangerous for Formula 1 racing. Still, in 2007 Nick Heidfeld had the courage to take a BMW Sauber on the track for a few laps. Now, after six years Michael Schumacher will do the same.
On the 19th of May, just before the start of the 24-hour race around Nürburgring, Schumacher will post a demonstration lap in a Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W02. This is the way the seven-time F1 driver’s champ will say "thank you" to his fans for their years of loyal support during his F1 career.
In July 2011, Schumacher covered part of the Nordschleife while driving a Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow Stromlinie W196. If the name of the car sounds familiar to you, it’s because it was the one that brought Mercedes two world titles during the 1954 and the 1955 season. The car was driven by Juan Manuel Fangio, who achieved eight wins in all.
Click past the jump to read more about the W196.
About Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow Stromlinie W196 and its Success in 1954
The W196 was the first Formula 1 Silver Arrow that gave Mercedes-Benz to two world titles in the 1954 and 1955 seasons. During the two seasons, the W196 managed to win 9 of 12 races it entered.
The W196 was powered by a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated engine - a stage move for Mercedes, considering that until then all its racing cars were using a supercharged engine. For the 1954 racing season the engine delivered a total of 257 horsepower, while for the 1955 racing season it was increased to 290 horsepower.
1955 Le Mans Crash
The 1954 and 1955 racing seasons had many ups and downs for Mercedes. The W196 was writing history at the German Grand Prix, but the 1955 Le Mans went horrible for the company. A collision between a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR driven by Pierre Levegh and an Austin-Healy sent the Mercedes’ engine, hood and steering assembly in to the crowd. Nearly 80 spectators died instantly.
On Sunday 19th May 2013 before the start of the 24-hour race around the Nürburgring, seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher will take to the track. Schumacher will post a demonstration lap on the Nürburgring’s legendary Nordschleife in a MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 W02 to say ‘thank you’ to his fans for their years of loyal support during his F1 career. This will be the first time since Juan Manuel Fangio’s victory on 1st August 1954 that a modern Formula 1 Silver Arrow has driven on the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring.
Schumacher covered part of the Nordschleife in the last Formula 1 grand prix at the Nürburgring in July 2011, however, that was in a Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow Stromlinie W196. The W196 was the first Formula 1 Silver Arrow that took Mercedes-Benz to two world titles with Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1954 and 1955 seasons. During this period, including his success at the Nürburgring, Fangio achieved eight wins in all.
Long before the start of the Formula 1 world championship in 1950, however, there has been a close connection between Mercedes-Benz and the Nürburgring; an icon was born on 3rd June 1934 when the Silver Arrow had its first outing on the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in the International Eifel Race. The car was silver because mechanics had worked through the night to strip away the white paint of the brand new Mercedes-Benz W25 racing car, so as not to exceed the maximum permissible weight. The next day, Manfred von Brauchitsch won the W25’s debut race, beginning the legend of the Silver Arrow.
Michael Schumacher brought his F1 career to a close last year at MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS. In April this year, Schumacher and Mercedes-Benz announced a long-term partnership that goes far beyond motor racing and Formula 1. The record-breaking champion will represent the brand as an ambassador and provide back-up for issues relating to future developments. Intelligence Drive – the safety and convenience system introduced by Mercedes-Benz – is part of his brief.
Michael Schumacher: “I have a lot of fond memories of the Nürburgring and am really looking forward to giving fans and friends from my home town of Kerpen, which is quite close to the Nürburgring, something to remember as they see me drive by. But it will be a fantastic experience for me too, driving along the Nordschleife in a state-of–the-art Formula 1 Silver Arrow, particularly in view of the fact that the Silver Arrow’s legend began here. Posting a lap in a modern Silver Arrow on the most beautiful and most testing circuit in the world, what a brilliant mix – it’s every motor racing driver’s dream!”