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Mercedes-Benz to Celebrate Targa Florio Centenary at Trofeo Bandini

Author: Bradley Lord Published: 15th May 2024 10:06

Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 driver George Russell will pilot the car from Faenza to the medieval village of Brisighella and collect 2024 Trofeo Bandini Award


Marking the centenary of Mercedes' victory in the 1924 Targa Florio, George Russell will get behind-the-wheel of one of the original participating cars this Wednesday (15th May 2024). The 26-year-old will pilot the two-litre machine, recently restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic, ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend to collect this year's Trofeo Bandini Award. 
 
The Award was established in 1992 in memory of the famous Italian racing driver who passed away in 1967. The trophy is given to a figure in F1 and selected by a special committee. The presentation takes place in Brisighella, a village in the Emilia-Romagna region of the country. George will drive the 100-year-old car from the nearby town of Faenza to the ceremony in the village square, celebrating the award and commemorating Mercedes' victory in the Targa Florio. 
 
George Russell said: "Mercedes-Benz has an incredible history in motorsport. Since joining the team back in 2017, I've enjoyed learning more about it including visiting the museum and 'Holy Halls' in Stuttgart. When the opportunity came up to drive one of the most iconic cars from the company's history, I jumped at it. I can't wait to get behind-the-wheel of the Mercedes 2-litre Targa Florio race car and get a sense of what the finest drivers of 100 years ago went through. The restoration by Mercedes-Benz Classic is second-to-none, as always. 
 
"To drive such an amazing vehicle, not only to celebrate such a momentous victory in Mercedes-Benz's history but en route to collect the Trofeo Bandini Award, makes it extra special. I'm looking forward to a warm reception in Brisighella and thanking the committee for their generous selection." 
 
A public road endurance race held in the mountains of Sicily, Italy, the Targa Florio began near the start of the 20th century. First run in 1906, it was one of the toughest competitions and became one of the most important for automotive manufacturers looking to show off their latest creations. After first tasting success in 1922, Mercedes entered the 1924 race with the 2-litre Targa Florio race car, the first project of then Chief Engineer Ferdinand Porsche. 
 
Painted red to deter local fans from impeding its progress, Christian Werner won the prestigious race in a time of eight hours, 17 minutes, and three seconds to take the German marque's second victory. 
 
In 2022, Mercedes-Benz Classic decided to rebuild the original 2-litre Targa Florio racing car from the company's own collection as authentically as possible for the anniversary - in accordance with the high standards of a factory restoration. It is the vehicle in which Christian Lautenschlager completed the Targa Florio in 1924. Werner's winning car has not survived. The removal of the racing car from the Mercedes-Benz Museum was followed by a meticulous inventory analysis and extensive search in the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive - the brand's "memory". Original technical drawings and historical photos were crucial sources for the authentic restoration and the Classic Centre carried this out together with a network of experts.

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