How we became what we are. The High C – also a result of lucky circumstances: the tst story, part two.
The stairway to heaven is said to be tricky. Sometimes happy circumstances also play a role, for example at Thorsten Stadler and his company tst sport + technik. Even if the highly technological C-Classes from Mercedes-Benz in their final development stage spread a hint of a real big show, it wasn’t always so. Fortunately, seven years ago, the foundation stone was laid for the unique position that the specialists for sports and racing touring cars with the star trademark do have on all roads today. Carsten Krome documents the milestones after the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring 2013. It is no coincidence, however, that this story begins in the yard of a Smart- and used car dealer in the Karlsruhe area: the tst story, part two.
„You screw for years, and then you get a result!“ Thorsten Stadler is completely out of breath, struggles for composure. He has just won a significant victory at the Norisring. In front of the contemporary DTM elite, he triumphs in a 40-minute race of historic DTM touring cars on Sunday morning. And since his own Mercedes-Benz, a C-Class according to the Class 1 regulations, was once a veritable works entry car in 1994, it fits perfectly into the picture on July 2, 2017 on the street circuit in the heart of Nuremberg. Not everyone is aware at the moment of success that this is not the first time for him to pass the colossal stone grandstand with the four-door car originally driven by Ellen Lohr. And yet it is true, because Thorsten Stadler brought the technically sophisticated C-Class to the Franconian country already in 2014 – after an odyssey to the United States, this is the first major appearance of the re-import. Actually, he just wanted to complete another racing car and was looking for original parts all over the world. He finally finds them, too – albeit far away, in the USA. „In the end, there was an entire car on the spare parts package – Ellen Lohr’s authentic car from the 1994 DTM season,“ recalls Thorsten Stadler.
The only hurdle besides the purely (business) economic aspect: The DTM veteran has been sold to a snow-covered part of America – and must now be picked up from there again: not an easy task, in the solution of which the local hero Bobby Rahal is involved. The former top driver and manager has a heart for the historical profession. In addition to his own racing team in the Indycar formula, he himself has long owned one of the immensely valuable Porsche 908/3. Back to the C-Class: After the noble cargo has landed in Bremerhaven and has been transported to Hann.-Münden, an inventory on site shows that there are now two tubular frame chassis in stock. The first chassis came from a used car dealer network in the Karlsruhe area. A Smart marketer knows of a colleague who has a reserve chassis planned for Bernd Schneider in 1994 without a history of use. The torso is not complete, aggregates are missing, but the overall condition of the rare substance, which was welded on the straightening plate in the special vehicle construction department at Mercedes-Benz, has proven to be worthwhile. In the meantime, the body shines again in the unique flip-flop painting, which changes from green to blue and back again in 1994. Bernd Schneider and his team-mate Roland Asch started like that in the first touring car Bundesliga in 1994.
Thorsten Stadler is also starting 20 years later – in June 2014. The chassis RS95-0205 is fully operational again two decades after its heyday in the DTM. At the Norisring Race Classics, it returns to its most important sports venue, the street circuit in the heart of Nuremberg. Although the Norisring Race Classics is not a car race in its classic sense, but rather a regularity run behind the race control car – the atmosphere in the wide circle does not detract from this. For many, the good old days came back when Klaus Ludwig became German Touring Car Champion again at the age of 44 – for the third and last time after 1988 and 1992. The Roisdorf star pilot is Ellen Lohr’s team mate at the Mercedes-Benz works team, his racecar looks confusingly similar to that of the Mönchengladbach woman – apart from the starting number, of course: Ludwig is on the road in 1994 with the seven that is quite symbolical for him, Lohr with the eight. Three years later, they both visit the keeper of their racing history in the paddock of the Nürburgring. In the supporting program of the contemporary DTM, their predecessors had a hard (rain) race over 40 minutes. A few weeks earlier, the honored man triumphed at the Norisring on July 2, 2017 – and created a remarkable network. In the meantime, the six-cylinder racers with their 500 HP and more from 2,500 ccm displacement are springing up like mushrooms.
In 2015 the third C-Class joined. It is the DTM runner-up car driven by Jörg van Ommen in 1995 in the distinguished brown tone of the Tabac Original fragrance brand als his spot,. It is the Bavarian Ludwig „Lucky“ Zechetmair, who „flips up“ the high-tech racing car in an adventurous way, as he himself says. He transports the visual object of a young technicians school from the first floor back to freedom and initially serves it to Thorsten Stadler. In the meantime, with Wolfgang Haindel, Bernd Ramler and other specialists, he has gathered experienced know-how who are always available to help and advise him. Jörg Hatscher, his friend and partner with the „Baby Benz“ from the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, proves to be an enthusiastic client for the Zechetmair find. Approximately three years later, in February 2018, he will say in front of the running YouTube camera: „So go ahead!“ It is the moment when the engine is brought back to life for the first time and makes its first cry. In October of the same year, Jörg van Ommen, the former driver, sits in the cockpit for the first time. Place of action: the 2018 DTM finale at the Hockenheimring. Mercedes-Benz says goodbye to the touring car Bundesliga on that memorable October day, three decades after the semi-official entry with the Ammerbuch Ford dealer Roland Asch and his 190 E 2.3-16.
More than ever, the focus is now on tradition – almost needless to say that Jörg Hatscher has also been doing sports with a C-Class from the last development stage since 2017. The merchant from the southern North Sea commissioned the AMG Mercedes, first presented by Jan Magnussen in the DTM successor series ITC in 1996. In 2019, he will have a test and development model of the final ITC class 1996, in which Klaus Ludwig also demonstrates his class on occasion. The former master is honored at Spa-Francorchamps, Zandvoort and at the Nürburgring. The special feature: the passionate hunter celebrates his 70th birthday on the practice Saturday. Friends, racing driver colleagues and companions celebrate an atmospheric party with him, of course Thorsten Stadler is also at the place. Its stock of complete or not yet fully assembled C-Classes has grown to an incredible nine units within six eventful years. One or the other happy coincidence, combined with perseverance and committed, manual work, has led to this. Possible motto: It is done – for one or another fast star trip.
Responsible for content, photography and archive: Carsten Krome Netzwerkeins