100 YEARS AGO in June 1906, the first ever grand prix took place at Le Mans. Among the competitors, it is impossible to overlook the name of Daimler. Even before then, and more so since, Mercedes and Benz, who came together as a single concern in 1916, have shaped the face of motor sport like no other marque - and sport has shaped the marque in equal measure.
The man who create the sports and racing cars that bear the Mercedes star, or who put them through the ultimate test on the track, are but fleeting figures of history, though they, too, are duly celebrated within
these pages. Yet the cars themselves remain with us, and new masterpieces are being created all the time. They are the trua stars of this book, witnesses to the thrilling story of an ongoing quest for the superlative.
It is a great pleasure for me to write a foreword to such a comprehensive book focusing on the sports history of Mercedes-Benz and the marque's marvellous road-going sports cars. After all Mercedes has been instrumental in my winning two Formula One world championships and I take pride in having contributed my due to the sporting fame of the illustrious Stuttgart enterprise both in grand prix racing and their professional and successful DTM effort. Joining Norbert Haug and many familiar faces again after my three-year sabbatical was like coming home and I am still enjoying myself tremendously. I consider notching up victory in the 2,005 DTM Spa round as one of my most satisfying achievements as a racing driver.
But I am also proud of being part and parcel of an outfit whose name is forever linked to greats of the past such as Rudolf Caracciola and Juan Manuel Fangio. Obviously I have long since been interested in the racing heritage of Mercedes-Benz and I appreciate that this book offers such an impressive review of it in terms of excellent photography and the informative text. As to the road-going Mercedes sports vehicles I must say that I consider some of them to be the most beautiful ever, particularly those from the thirties and mid-fifties but also the third millennium such as the SL-Class.
I am sure that Mercedes Sport will be a bedside table "must" for me as well as other friends of the make for quite some time.
by Mika Hakkinen
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