Favourite Racing Cars: Mercedes-Benz C11

I guess it’s odd that a car I never saw race in period is one of my favourite cars of all time.

I was only 5 years old when the C11 made its race debut at Monza in April 1990. I’d always loved Group C, even as a child and I was vaguely aware of the Mercedes vs Jaguar vs Porsche battle that was raging in Sportscar racing at that time.

The car was an immediate success, qualifying over two seconds ahead of the factory Jaguars and romping away in the race to record a one-two finish for Mercedes. The car won all but one of the remaining races in 1990, and easily took the teams championship at the end of the year.

So what makes this car one of my favourites? Just look at it. The C11 is probably the ultimate expression of a pure Group C car, as beautiful as it is fast. Clean lines and an iconic Mercedes silver arrows livery make it one of the best looking racing cars ever designed.

Powering all this beauty is a sonorous, flame spitting twin turbo 5-litre V8. Conservatively rated at 730bhp in lightly stressed race trim, and capable of an easy 1,000bhp on qualifying boost, the engine was the class of the Group C field, boasting power, reliability and great fuel economy, which was incredibly important in the fuel limited Group C formula.

I first saw this car race in 2014 at the Donington Historic festival, driven by Gareth Evans. The sight of the C11 braking hard for Redgate, front carbon discs glowing red hot is something I’ll never forget. Accelerating out of the corner, each gear change was accompanied with a huge stab of flame from the side mounted exhausts. I was hooked, and the cars place as my favourite racing car was secure.

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