The two companies which were merged to form theÂ Mercedes-BenzÂ brand in 1926 had both already enjoyed success in the new sport of motor racing throughout their separate histories. A single Benz competed in the world’s first motor race, theÂ 1894 Parisâ€“Rouen, where Ã‰mile Roger finished 14th in 10 hours 1 minute. TheÂ Mercedes SimplexÂ of 1902, built by DMG, was Mercedes’ first purpose-builtÂ race carÂ â€” much lower than their usual designs â€” which were similar to horse carriages; that model dominated racing for years. In 1914, just before the beginning of theÂ First World War, the DMGÂ Mercedes 35 hpÂ won theÂ French Grand Prix, finishing 1-2-3.
Karl Benz’s company,Â Benz & Cie.Â built the “bird beaked”,Â Blitzen Benz that setÂ land speed recordsÂ several times, reaching 228.1Â km/h (141.7Â mph) in 1911.Â That record gained that model the reputation of being faster than any other automobile â€” as well as any train or plane. They constructed manyÂ aerodynamicallyÂ designed race cars.