3. MERCEDES-BENZ 300SLR
BEST RESULT: Withdrawn (1955) It’s one of the great Le Mans questions: would Mercedes have beaten Jaguar in 1955 had the team not withdrawn after the sport’s worst accident? But it should not be hard to answer.
D-type ace Mike Hawthorn had battled Juan Manuel Fangio’s 300SLR early on, before Stirling Moss – quicker than Fangio in sportscars – took over the Merc. Hawthorn’s co-driver Ivor Bueb was a good sportscar driver, but he was not in the Moss-fangio league and the #19 Mercedes was comfortably in the lead when the call from HQ came.
Any doubts over the 300SLR’S reliability should be quashed by its successes in the punishing Mille Miglia and Targa Florio road-racing classics. It was a robust, rapid all-rounder, though it is fair to say it also had the two best drivers in the world in the shape of Moss and Fangio.
“We could have easily won,” Moss asserts today. “We were well ahead and I can’t remember a 300SLR breaking, certainly not with me.”
Mercedes was not going to lose this one.
Fangio/moss Mercedes led the 1955 enduro until the team decided to withdraw
Stars: Moss and Fangio (r) Number 20 had huge accident