Mercedes to run special livery at Spa

AMG was founded 55 years ago by two Mercedes engineers.

Mercedes are running a special livery to commemorate 55 years of their AMG division, which was founded in 1967.

Mercedes Benz was founded 45 years beforehand in 1926 by Emil Jellinek and Paul Daimler, before the company branched into grand prix racing in the 1930s.

Two of their engineers, Erhard Melcher and Hans Werner Aufrecht, decided in the ‘60s to branch off and launch a new company, AMG.

Initially, Mercedes and AMG were separate entities, but that changed when Melcher and Aufrecht’s project transcended race engines, and became a subsidiary of the Mercedes company.

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For years, AMG has been heavily involved with Mercedes, both in their racing project, and their road car adventure.

Perhaps the most iconic innovation from AMG was the ‘Red Pig,’ which Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has had the pleasure of driving this week in Spa.

AMG took a Mercedes 300SEL, 6.8 litre car, and transformed it into a 6.8 litre car; the resemblance of the front of the car to that of a cartoon pig earned it the quirky name.

It was a pig in the mirror, but a stallion on the racetrack. It contested the 1971 24 hours of Spa under the control of Clemens Schickentanz and Hans Heyer, who drove it to an incredible second place.

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On the sides of the car were enormous circular numbers to identify it, much bigger than the subtle numbers we see on today’s machines.

The massive, iconic 35 number has been replicated by Mercedes this weekend, with Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell sporting their respective 44 and 63 numbers in large circles on the sidepods. 

“AMG is synonymous with racing and high-performance,” said Wolff of the special occasion.

“For 55 years they have been at the forefront of pushing what is possible on four wheels, both on the racetrack and the road. I look forward to getting out on track in the Red Pig this afternoon, an icon in motorsport history.”

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Hamilton and Russell did not get off to the easiest start in Belgium this weekend, as the 24-year-old ended FP1 fourth, with Hamilton behind in ninth.

The seven-time champion climbed up to sixth in FP2, with Russell two places further back.