Watch a Legend Lean Hard On a Timeless Gullwing at Goodwood
Le Mans winner and F1 title Jochen Mass spends some quality time with a later-year 300SL.
This video of Formula 1 champ and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Jochen Mass captures everything great about the Goodwood Revival: A timeless driver absolutely caning a timeless car, the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing.”
“It’s fun to drive,” Mass says in between racing sessions. “You just have to stay out of mischief.”
If there’s anything we know about race car drivers–especially hard-nosed ones like Mass–mischief takes over the best parts of the sport. Even with a multimillion-dollar 300SL at his disposal, he can’t resist racing hard against an old Jaguar C-Type.
Curiously, the Goodwood Revival has grown into such a high-profile event that more drivers like Mass and Tom Kristensen seem hell-bent on winning the various trophies. While that sometimes puts priceless cars into the repair shops (for priceless repairs), it makes an incredible spectacle. Classic cars racing hard wheel to wheel like it’s 1955 at Goodwood? That’s what vintage racing should recreate.
Moss raced a ‘55 300SL at the 2017 Revival. That represents one of the later Gullwings; Mercedes switched to Roadster-only production for 1957. As a ‘55, it features one of the most important developments from Mercedes at the time: Bosch direct fuel injection. Mercedes replaced the triple-Solex carb setup in ‘54 for the fuel-injection setup. As Moss points out, the 1955 represented the best racing breed of the Gullwings.
“This is quite a good developed 300SL racing car,” Mass says. “After ‘55, Mercedes didn’t do anything anymore so they didn’t develop much in terms of homologation. This car, they did a lot of fine-tuning with the damping and the springs and is rather competitive now.”
Look inside the Gullwing: Check out this 300SL X-ray.
Of course, when Mass says the company “didn’t do anything anymore,” he refers to the company’s wholesale withdrawal from sports car racing after the 1955 Le Mans disaster. That’s a shame, because Mercedes seemed to be closing on an answer for Jaguar at the time.