Mercedes 1908 Grand Prix racing car was built according to the new regulations which limited the bore to a maximum of 155 mm and prescribed a minimum weight of 1050 kg calculated without coolant, fuel, spare tires and mudguards, but including lubricant. The car was designed by Paul Daimler who had earlier returned from the Austrian branch of the company. Its 4-cylinder engine was capable to develop 140 bhp, 10 hp per litre more than previous formula’s output. Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft entered three new cars for the main race of the year, the Grand Prix of French Automobile Club. The drivers trio of Christian Lautenschlager, Otto Salzer and Willy Poege rivaled the opponents from Benz, Opel, Renault, Pahnard-Levassor, Clement-Bayard, FIAT, Itala and other works teams of all major racing car manufacturers. The race was not an easy run for Mercedes. Felice Nazzaro and Louis Wagner in FIATs and Victor Hemery in Benz led the first half of the race, but later suffered from tire problems. Saltzer set the fastest time on the very first lap (out of 10), but then retired. Poege kept behind the leading group. So Christian Lautenschlager, 31-years old former mechanic and test driver, was the only hope for Daimler team. He took the lead on lap 6 and drove his GP racer to victory, finished almost nine minutes ahead of his main competitor Hemery in a Benz.
|Christian Lautenschlager||||Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft|