Friday, June 19, 2015

IWC Schaffhausen Sponsors Passione Caracciola Rally

As a partner of the Passione Caracciola, IWC, the Swiss watchmaking company based in Schaffhausen supports the exclusive regularity rally, which is being held for the first time this year. The event, which takes participants from Stuttgart to Lugano via Schaffhausen, is dedicated to the memory of Rudolf Caracciola, the legendary racing driver who led the Mercedes-Benz team during the 1930s and after whom the rally is named. In spring of this year, IWC was Timing Partner of the Goodwood Members’ Meeting in Goodwood, England. Now, through the Passione Caracciola, IWC has intensified its involvement in historic motor racing events.

At the first Passione Caracciola rally that held on 17 Jun 15, participants gathered in their fabulous collector’s cars at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. Around 30 cars, all built between 1930 and 1960, were entered to take part in this very special rally. In its role as official partner, IWC Schaffhausen started out in a number of selected Mercedes- Benz classic cars. Prime among these was the famous grand tourer, the 300 SLR (W196 S), with the starting number 417, the same vehicle that on 1 May 1955 won the Mille Miglia in Brescia in the series-built sports car category. A silver grey 300 SL Roadster (W198 II) and a red 300 SL (R107) completed the attractive IWC fleet that made its way to Schaffhausen. Nico Rosberg, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team driver and IWC brand ambassador, together with Bernd Mayländer, the official FORMULA ONE safety car driver, put in an exclusive appearance.
The vintage and classic cars, which included a 1928 Maserati 26M, an Aston Martin DB4, a Ferrari 330 GTC and, of course, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL with its gullwing doors, caused quite a stir as they drove into Schaffhausen. At the end of this first stage of the rally, the Passione Caracciola participants visited the IWC museum, where it soon became clear that both lovers of classic cars and watchmakers share the same enthusiasm for technology. Power, sophisticated mechanics and design play a crucial role in both disciplines. The two fields are rooted in a long and fascinating history and have created a highly specialized form of engineering. In the evening, host and IWC CEO Georges Kern received his guests for dinner on the Rhine. As they raised a toast to a successful rally, an IWC watchmaker gave a demonstration of his skills.

The Passione Caracciola, which is celebrating its premiere this year, finishes on 21 June 2015. After the opening stage from Stuttgart to Schaffhausen, the route takes drivers to Bad Ragaz via Romanshorn. On the third day, the rally continues alongside Lake Klöntal before taking on the historic Klausen Pass, where Rudolf Caracciola celebrated some of his greatest successes. Here, participants will lay the foundation stone for a monument honouring the legendary driver, who won 144 of the 204 races he finished in his long career. After spending the night in Weggis, drivers will navigate the St. Gotthard Pass before winding down the hairpin bends of the Tremola. A special challenge awaits the drivers at the airfield in Ambrì before they tackle the last stage to Lugano, where the winner will be announced and will be presented with an Ingenieur Chronograph Silberpfeil (Ref. 3785), donated by IWC. The circular graining on the dial of this watch is a tribute to the legendary Silver Arrow W25, whose dashboard had a steel surround with a similar circular-grain decoration. To bring the event to a fitting close, participants will gather at Rudolf Caracciola’s grave to pay tribute to the outstanding racing driver who gave his name to the rally. After this, they will be welcomed at his old villa, Casa Scania.

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