On May 27, 1934 the German racing cars that were soon to acquire the nickname “Silver Arrow” were entered for their first race, on the Avus racetrack in Berlin. Although neither Auto Union nor Mercedes-Benz won that event, it was not long before these two manufacturers began to dominate international Grand Prix racing, a situation that prevailed until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. It seems almost incredible today, but by 1936 the Silver Arrow racing cars were reaching speeds of up to 380 kilometres an hour on the long straights of the Avus circuit. The esteem in which these models and their drivers were held was based on their superb technology, which was way ahead of its time, and their drivers, whose courage is still an inspiration to subsequent generations of drivers. Yet it is not only the beauty of these automobiles that inspire awe, it also the rich history that comes along with them.
Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union race cars from the 1930s took to the track at the 2012 Goodwood Revival, some 75 years after the famed Silver Arrows first appeared in the United Kingdom. The Silver Arrows featured at the Revival were some of the most iconic of that wonderful era of racing. Audi Tradition saw their rear-engine Auto Union Type A, Type C, and monstrous Type D Dual Compressor hit the track against their former rivals, the front-engine Mercedes-Benz W 25, W 125, W 154 and W 165. While Auto Union achieved early head-to-head success, Mercedes-Benz racers claimed victory over several of the biggest races of the mid-to-late 1930s.
Piloted by experienced, world-famous drivers, the Silver Arrows staged several demonstration runs over the Goodwood Revival 2012, providing all the spectacle of a real race, but without risk to these priceless and irreplaceable pieces of motorsport history. Behind the wheel for the demo runs at Audi included Formula 1 legend Jacky Ickx, five-time Le Mans winner Frank Biela and arch enthusiast Nick Mason, while Jochen Mass, Karl Wendlinger, Jackie Stewart and his son Paul led the team driving the Silver Arrows from Mercedes-Benz. (See Goodwood Revival 2012 – Silver Arrows Race Report)
Silver Arrows at the 2012 Goodwood Revival – Paddock Pictures
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