24 Hours Spa Francorchamps - 24/25 July 1971
After the accident at Hockenheim on 4 July, many hours of overtime were worked to getting the AMG repaired and prepared for Spa.
The Mercedes-Benz arrived as an outsider against works-backed Ford Capris, Autodelta Alfas, Steinmetz Opel Commodores and Chevrolet Camaros Z28s. AMG entered the 300SEL 6.8 as car #35 with drivers Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz, who qualified the car 5th on the grid in 4m 14.5s. The AMG had formidable company ahead: the Grauls/ Hoffman Camaro Z28 was on pole, 2nd the Lauda/ Larrousse BMW 2800CS, 3rd the Glemser/ Soler-Roig Capri 2600 and 4th the Aaltonen/ Kelleners BMW 2800CS.
Dieter Glemser took the lead in the Cologne Capri RS2600 from the Grauls/ Hoffman Chevrolet Camaro, followed by the Mercedes-Benz. After the first hour Glemser remained in the lead with the Capri, followed by the Camaro, Kelleners in the Schnitzer BMW 2800CS and the AMG in 4th place after Lauda blew up the gearbox of the BMW. The AMG was re-fuelling as often as the Camaro, but by midnight all the BMWs had retired and the Mercedes-Benz found itself in third place behind the two Capris of Dieter Glemser and Jochen Mass. Eventually the Mass/ Birrell Cologne Capri retired due to head gasket failure and the AMG ended the race eleven laps behind the winning Capri in 2nd place and 1st in class.
This unexpected result was so significant that it was even covered by Germany’s Tageschau and put AMG firmly on the map as a Mercedes-Benz tuning company.
The two photos below were submitted to rotesau.co.za by Marc Collard and have never been seen before. Marc grew up in Spa and used to go to events at the track often as a boy, and took these when he was eleven years old.
Marc recalls: "In 1971, I was only 11 years old, so, to be honest , I was far too young to get a clear idea about the potential impact of this car. However, I do remember two things : firstly, that was the very first time I had a chance to see a Mercedes on a track. Secondly the sound of this massive car was highly impressive."
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