Karl Kling

Karl Kling
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  • Date of death

Kling, from Giessen, was already working sporadically for Daimler-Benz AG in the 1930s in touring car races and off-road driving, but his real career did not begin until immediately after the Second World War, initially with Veritas. After winning three consecutive titles as German Sports Car Champion, he won for the first time in 1950 in a Mercedes-Benz.

He achieved further great successes in 1952 as a works driver with the 300 SL racing car, for example second place in the Mille Miglia together with Hans Klenk and victories in the Prize of Bern for sports cars and in the Carrera Panamericana. In the case of the latter, the collision with a vulture that almost cost him and his co-driver Hans Klenk, who was injured in the process, the race, became one of the most famous episodes in motorsport history.

When Daimler-Benz AG returned to Grand Prix racing in the 1954 season, Kling was part of the successful works team alongside Juan Manuel Fangio and Hans Herrmann. At the first Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 race in July 1954 in Reims, France, he secured second place behind team-mate Juan Manuel Fangio in one of the new W 196 R cars with streamlined bodywork.

In 1956, he succeeded Alfred Neubauer as head of the sports department at Mercedes-Benz and – apart from sporadic appearances, such as winning the 1959 Algiers - Cape Town Rally or winning the 1961 Algiers - Lagos - Algiers Rally in a 220 SE, he withdrew more and more from active driving. He retired in 1968, but continued to assist Mercedes-Benz as an advisor and demonstration driver.