背部in 2012 DSC feature writer David Greenhalgh made the most of a chance to sit down with one of the most significant Mercedes drivers in the brand’s history, Bernd Schneider. At the time Schneider was in Sydney to drive in the Australian GT Championship amid one of his many years spent around the world for the German brand.
Schneider was a Ford youngster from 1985 to 1991. He remains very grateful for the support from the company, especially as for some of that time he was racing a VW-engined F3 car!
他在赛跑一级方程式既Zakspeed和箭头没有成功的很大。“我承包Zakspeed，并在1989年结束时，我说我不希望开更多的他们。我跟埃里希·萨科斯基，说我要退出。但我有一个为期三年的合同。Jochen Neerpasch, Mercedes motorsport boss, contacted me and said: ‘yes I’m going to do it, there will be a German sportscar team’: Jochen Mass and myself in one car and the other car would be Jean-Louis Schlesser with Mauro Baldi.
“我说，这将是巨大的推动未来这些家伙，我真的很喜欢它 - 但Zakspeed不会让我跳出合同。“如果不这样做，”他们说，“然后我们采取的年轻车手弗伦岑，舒马赫和温德林格”这是这样一个耻辱 - 这是十一月，之后在2月份Zakspeed退出一级方程式，我得到了来自保时捷的报价。一切也许会已经变成一个有点不同 - 我不抱怨，我只是说这将是不同的“。
Some appearances in Kremer Porsches in 1990 were followed by an offer from Joest Racing to drive a Porsche 962 in Interserie races in Europe and IMSA in America, in addition to outings at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring.
他说，962的：“这是一个非常危险的车，但功能非常强大。在美国，我们有限，但我们做了几个世界冠军的比赛，并在排位赛 - 1100马力，900公斤 - 我很喜欢这款车非常多“。
Not surprisingly, he was neither the first nor the last driver to be impressed by this famous team: “I really enjoyed Joest Racing, it was very professional and a semi-factory team. We really had good days and even though we were not fighting for the Championship it was good enough. We could win some races and fighting for podiums and I really enjoyed the races over there, but Norbert [Haug] said, “No! Stop it now, it’s too dangerous, I don’t want to lose another friend”. (Haug had been very close friends with Manfred Winkelhock, who was killed in a 962 at Mosport in 1985.)
“Then I replaced Schumacher in DTM because nobody knows that he did DTM in those days, so when he came in Formula 1 there was a seat available, and Porsche said ‘yeah, you can do it if you want’ so I replaced him for the last four DTM races, then Norbert announced at Hockenheim that Schneider is with Mercedes now – even though I had no contract!
“这一切的方式开始的，但说实话，作为一个德国人有关于驾驶梅赛德斯一些特别的东西：动车的发明者。没有其他制造商有这样的历史一样，我们有。A lot of people have forgotten this but when you come to our museum and see the history, not only in road cars but also the motor sport side, what we have achieved and what we have done in the past, it’s first-class work and I’m really, really happy being part of the family.”
1997 - 1998年FIA GT
After five successful seasons driving touring cars for Mercedes in the DTM and ITC, Schneider moved with the marque back into sports cars in 1997, after the collapse of the DTM.
“1997年汽车[在CLK GTR]当我在GT1成为世界冠军，我真的很喜欢这个车，V12发动机，扭矩大 - 我只是喜欢它。即使是98年的车是与V8发动机，更轻，更好的操控性，但扭矩和V12的声音更快是真棒。97年的车不在我们不得不因为'98和'99汽车是更快，但97只是适合我的驾驶风格最快的赛车。
“在1998年仍然是令人失望的那一点t we [Mark Webber and I] didn’t win the championship because we were so close – we were leading a couple of races and we were just unlucky. I remember at Dijon we was miles away from Zonta and Ludwig and then Mark in his stint collected a nut which goes between the wheel and the brakes and cut the wheel off – we had to change tyres and we lost first place.
“然后在最后一场比赛有一个小游戏，克劳斯·路德维希播放。他做了轮胎测试，说是的，软胎，我们不能使用，因为它太软。通常，里卡多 - 宗塔和我使用硬胎，与马克和Klaus走软肩章。但克劳斯说，“不，软一个没有工作”，然后马克不得不运行那些硬的和Klaus上了软的 - 然后我们失去了冠军。只是不公平的游戏，但我们从来没有宣布它非常多，但也有很多因素在失去了冠军。马克和我仍然感到失望吧。”
如所周知，奔驰在1999年遭受了剧烈的空气动力学问题，在勒芒他们的CLR，韦伯以飞行中均周四壮观事故资格，并在周六上午的比赛热身。研究小组随后开了一个会，讨论情况，但施耐德的立场是明确的：“我是谁说，‘来吧，我们种族’的人。我从来没有任何问题，我们发现为什么这发生在马克的车，然后我们认为是在安全方面的原因，把更多的下压力，然后我们是安全的 - 但我们并不安全“。
上周六晚上，在电影拍摄有史以来最引人注目的赛车事故之一，彼得·邓布雷克经过印第安纳波利斯之前的最后扭结下一个丰田时失去下压力，并侧翻他的CLR高翻过栅栏进入树木。施奈德：“我刚刚完成我的进站和改变，然后我听到‘安全车’，我想，OK安全车。But then my team-mate Franck Lagorce came in and said ‘Oh, Peter flew, Peter flew into the forest!’ I said, ‘what are you talking about, how can he be in the forest?’ and then I heard that Peter was OK and I was more relaxed. Then I saw the pictures and thought, ‘how can he survive this?’
“He missed the concrete post by one metre, then the advertising bridge from Bridgestone, he missed by two metres, then he flew in the forest. The French just one week before had cut the trees off and he landed on the stem of the tree, and the stem came in on the passenger’s side through the floor.
“He had no scratch at all, and the best thing, he came into the hospital, and you know the first thing he had to do: alcoholic test, the French policeman came and he had to do an alcoholic test!”
After this third aerial misadventure, Schneider has no doubt that Mercedes made the right decision in pulling their last car – the one he shared with Lagorce and Pedro Lamy – out of the race. “Of course, every manufacturer who races there has the risk because every one of them flew but especially from Mercedes’ side after the history of 1955 if someone was killed there, one hundred percent sure we wouldn’t have any motor sports. It can happen – in motor sports, if you go over 300, something can happen, but not in the way at Le Mans, and not with the history we have.
“有了这些种类的汽车，它可能发生 - 你无法避免它，这是我们停止整个程序的原因之一。”
不过，他说，勒芒灾难并没有从跑车奔驰推走，并回到重生DTM在2000年“我认为有前[勒芒]已经讨论的唯一原因。在开始的时候，我们想，也许做两个节目像奥迪那样 - 跑车DTM - 但事后毫无疑问了。我们真的很高兴，程序与DTM开始于2000年。”
Involvement with AMG and the GT3 SLS
Schneider had some regrets to be leaving sports cars in 2000: “I was a little bit unhappy when they said we have to go back to DTM: less horsepower, less downforce, smaller tyres and I said, ‘Oh OK I do it’ but I was not crazy happy to be going back.” But this generation of DTM cars was seriously quick and fun to drive – he says they are 1.5 secs per kilometre faster than a GT3 car – and he immediately launched into an extraordinary run of success.
He won the title in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2006. Then: “at the beginning of 2007 I was already thinking to retire, the boss of AMG came up to me and said, ‘Listen I want to do a real sports car – we got from Mercedes permission to do the SLS. I want you to do the development from the first day to the end because this car must feel comfortable and must be at home on the racetrack and also the road. This must be a real impressive sports car, and you’re the right guy to do it’.
“我说行 - 我想这是我的职业生涯结束了，我要去反正来完成，这是一个良好的开端，这是我的第一件事情。我仍然在做它作为AMG大使，我帮助他们的新汽车的发展，我让所有与他们的新闻简报。
“It was a big issue because Mercedes didn’t have customer motor sport so we not only had to build the car we also had to build up the whole service around the cars, the customer programme, like how can we support them at the racetrack with the mechanics, the engineers – everything we had to grow from nothing. It was a big, big effort to do and we are very proud that we achieved in such a short time such good results.
“今年我做了迪拜，纽博格林（上图），温泉和做了一些VLN。当我赢得了黑鹰最后VLN比赛，这是我在所有的SLS的第一场胜利，因为我做了这么多场比赛，但我没有赢得一场比赛为止。我的老板叫我“恭喜你，先赢”。首场取胜的比赛？是很久以前的事。”“不，先在我们的小车 - 赢你终于做到了。””
Bearing in mind the extent of Bernd Schneider’s achievements – five DTM crowns, 1995 ITC champion, 1997 GT Champion, 1991 Interserie winner, and victor in 1989 (and later the 2013) Spa 24 Hours – it can safely be said that his boss does a nice line in irony.
Featured image and portrait courtesy of Daimler/Mercedes