2008 Mercedes-AMG C-Class W204 DTM
€650,000 EUR | Asking
| Irsingen, Germany
- A remarkable and unparalleled opportunity to secure a race-winning, ex-HWA/AMG factory racing chassis
- Campaigned by six-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider during the 2008 season and driven to the last pole, podium, and victory of his 24-season, 1,648-point, DTM career
- Later run by Susie Stoddart (Wolff) for Persson Motorsport during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 DTM seasons
- Powered by a 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated V-8 engine rated at 493 hp; six-speed sequential transaxle
- Documented by its original DMSB Wagenpass and HWA correspondence
DTM AND DOMESTIC DOMINANCE
Since the beginning of the German Touring Car Series (DTM) in 1984, the domestic dominance of Mercedes-Benz and its umbrella of motorsports entities has been nothing short of astounding. The marque’s factory team has secured 11 driver’s championships, 14 constructor’s trophies, and earned several hundred podium finishes from notable drivers including Mika Häkkinen, Klaus Ludwig, Bernd Schneider, Ralf Schumacher, Jean Alesi, Kurt Thiim, Jamie Green, and Gary Paffet.
Despite using the heavily modified styling of a standard Mercedes-Benz road car, Daimler’s in-house motorsports division, HWA AG, is the true constructor of all race chassis for works teams and privateers, including those for Formula One and the DTM touring cars like that offered here.
THE C-CLASS W204 DTM
Thanks to the ever-appreciated silhouette rules in the modern era of sport car racing, Mercedes-Benz has been able to showcase the external visual identity of their most affordable products (the C-Class, CLK-class, and earlier, 190-class), while retaining absolutely nothing else in common with the production models. The company eventually changed this philosophy in 2019 with the debut of the AMG-GT based silhouette car—yet Mercedes-Benz’s motorsports identity is still prominently tied to this interesting decision to highlight their smaller, less-expensive models.
At the 2007 Geneva Motor Show on 6 March, Mercedes-Benz formally unveiled their new (W204) C-class to the public. At the same time, HWA also unveiled their newest DTM chassis, which was, of course, externally similar to the form of the W204 road car. However, HWA had unofficially debuted the car several weeks earlier during DTM preseason testing with factory drivers Bernd Schneider and Bruno Spengler at Portugal’s Circuito do Estoril on 24 January. It premiered in official competition shortly thereafter at Mercedes’ home track, Hockenheimring, on 22 April. At the time of its racing debut, this new W204 DTM inherited the legacy of the winningest model to ever compete the series, with 54 outright victories across 106 races between 1994 and 2006.
The C-Class W204 DTM began development in March 2006 under a team at HWA led by Technical Director Gerhard Ungar. Wind tunnel testing proved immensely tedious, but the car’s dramatic and lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) bodywork was finalized after several months of continued revision. The chassis features a tubular space-frame construction with a steel roof, integrated carbon fiber safety cell, and inboard-mounted double-wishbone suspension at the front and rear. Handling dynamics and weight distribution were perfected over the previous W203 DTM by fixing the 476-horsepower, 4.0-liter, 90-degree V-8 engine to a slightly adjusted mid-mounted configuration immediately behind the front axle.
DTM rules of the time mandated a 9,000-rpm rev limiter, lightweight aluminum engine block, Bosch fuel injection, and partial intake restrictors to mechanically govern engine power. Furthermore, the car’s six-speed sequential gearbox was reimagined as a transaxle connected to the powerplant via an F1-derived carbon-fiber driveshaft from its mounting point in the rear of the car. The 65-liter reinforced fuel cell sits towards the passenger side of the cockpit and is fed by an externally integrated quick-fill system.
Like the previous W203 DTM model, the car’s front fascia hides a cleverly devised, carbon fiber isolation channel which feeds fresh air directly into the velocity stack intakes of its naturally aspirated powerplant. Lightweight alloy wheels from Motegi house a full set of carbon-fiber competition brakes from AP Racing, while integrated cooling ducts in the bodywork help keep components operating within their optimal temperature range.
HWA/AMG FACTORY TEAM CHASSIS RS-08-012
A DMSB Wagenpass on file shows that this chassis offered here was completed at Affalterbach by HWA on 20 March and approved on 10 April. Shortly thereafter, the car was assigned to factory driver and six-time DTM champion, Bernd Schneider—also known as “Mr. DTM”.
Schneider is among the greatest touring car drivers of all time—no doubt, the greatest to ever contest the German championship. Nearly thirteen years after his last race, Schneider is still the leader in nearly every major statistical category in DTM history. Behind Lewis Hamilton, no Mercedes-Benz factory driver has won more points than Schneider, who amassed an incredible 1,648 points in official competitions. Between 1986 and 2008, Schneider managed an unbelievable 0.64 point percentage across 257 races, with 46 outright victories, 112 podiums, 40 poles, and 62 recorded fastest laps. Schneider moved to the AMG factory team at the start of the 1991 DTM season, and would go on to win the driver’s championship in 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006. After finishing sixth overall in the driver’s championship for the 2008 season, Schneider retired from DTM. This remarkable chassis offered here is the exact one in which he earned his last career victory, podium, and pole qualification.
Schneider and 08-012 made their debut at the team’s home track, the Hockenheimring, on 13 April 2008. This first round entry yielded a disappointing 8th-place finish, and the following race at the Oscherleben on 20 April was even worse, with Schneider securing 12th overall. However, driver and chassis appeared to become synchronized over the following three rounds; Schneider’s improving form carried him to 4th, 7th, and 6th-place overall finishes at Mugello, Lausitzring, and Norisring, respectively. Shortly thereafter, Schneider drove this chassis to the last DTM victory of his career at the Nürburgring on 27 July, outpacing teammates Paul Di Resta and Jamie Green in the pouring rain to complete a stunning podium sweep for HWA.
Two months later, 08-012 would take “Mr. DTM” to his best qualifying time of the season—thereby earning pole position for the race at Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit on 21 September. While Di Resta secured yet another victory for HWA that day, Schneider posted a 3rd-place effort, the last podium finish of his legendary DTM career.
Just after Schneider announced his retirement, HWA sold this chassis to the German privateer racing outfit Persson Motorsport. Since entering the DTM in the 1993 season until their dissolution in 2013, Persson always raced with chassis purchased from, and prepared by, HWA. As such, 08-012 was likely either rebuilt and then retailed directly to Persson, or provided to them in its race-used condition at a steep discount. Whichever the case, the car was assigned to Susie Stoddart (who in October 2011 married Mercedes-AMG Formula One Team Principal Toto Wolff) and given her distinctive, hot pink #8 TV Spielfilm/Persson livery. Interestingly, Stoddart, previously under contract with HWA, was the same person who drove the W204 DTM onto the grandstand at its debut ceremony during the 2007 Geneva Motor Show.
Though the precise history of 08-012’s use with Persson Motorsport is unknown, prevailing wisdom regarding the maintenance of a single chassis during a DTM season presents the possibility that it was Stoddart’s sole race chassis for the next three seasons. At the very least it was certainly raced during the 2011 season due to the present livery, which features additional Deutsche Post decals and the #10 race number and married surname used exclusively at the end of that season.
Contemporary press from the 2009 DTM season indicate that she was known to be driving a one-year-old chassis; however, it remains unclear as to whether Persson had several examples within circulation for her use.
Over 11 races during the 2009 season, Stoddart achieved her best result at the Norisring on 28 June, finishing just outside the points at 10th place. Interestingly, the Hockenheim proved a challenging location for her; she retired during the first race on 17 May with a fuel line issue. During the second race there, on 25 October, she spun out and impacted the barriers on the penultimate lap.
In August 2009, HWA announced that they were ceasing development on the W204 DTM, though technical support and parts were still to be provided to privateers using their product. In 20 races over the next two seasons, Stoddart improved to a best finish of 7th place, achieved twice during the 2010 season: at the Lausitzring on 6 June and the Hockenheimring on 17 October. Four retirements and the aforementioned 2009 Hockenheim II crash are her only recorded troubles which impacted performance during this three-season period with Persson.
For the 2011 DTM season, Stoddart and 08-012 again returned together to the field of competition, this time wearing the #10 livery. Without continued factory development, the W024 DTM proved increasingly uncompetitive despite Stoddart’s talent. 08-012’s best outing that year came at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia—where Stoddart managed an 11th-place finish.
As offered today, this DTM chassis presents an especially rare and unparalleled opportunity to acquire an ex-factory AMG/HWA example with multiple seasons of documented competition. Furthermore, it represents the last race-winning chassis driven by DTM legend Bernd Schneider.
Competing for several additional seasons at the capable hands of Susie Stoddart for Persson Motorsport, even the most discerning collector of late-model touring cars would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive chassis with such a lengthy, race-proven provenance. The car is presently accompanied by its original DMSB Wagenpass and HWA correspondence confirming its prominent use by the factory team during the 2008 season.