Let there be no doubt that Lewis Hamilton is a Formula 1 racer because he absolutely loves driving cars as fast as possible. So when the opportunity came up to razz a classic Mercedes DTM car around Silverstone, he jumped on it. And roped in Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff to drive another one for an impromptu race.
They’re both driving a 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II, the ultimate iteration of Merc’s ultimate touring car that contested the German DTM series from 1990 to 1993. Wolff is at the wheel of a 1992 car – we believe it was originally raced by Ellen Lohr, who took a single win with it – while Hamilton picked a 1990 example.
As it turns out, he picked the wrong car. It might have a full rollcage and stripped interior, but the muted engine noise and considerable lean angles it reaches through corners suggests it’s largely a standard road car. Wolff’s mount, by contrast, is a full-house race car with 360hp – 130hp more than Hamilton’s.
Wolff is an extremely gifted racer himself and, quite frankly, he’s toying with Hamilton. Such is his car advantage he could’ve just driven off into the distance and probably lapped his five-time world champion driver several times. But dogfighting is much more fun!
We suspect that neither of them had even sat in the cars before. The fact they could both push very hard from the off shows just how talented both Hamilton and Wolff are. Though they do struggle with the manual gearboxes a bit. Wolff will have raced cars with manual ‘boxes, but as far as we’re aware Hamilton has never raced a car that needs the clutch depressing to change gear.
Anyway, Wolff wins but Hamilton still gets out of the car with a massive smile on his face. “That’s the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” he laughs.
By Graham King