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Fast Lap: Race Cars of the Geneva Salon

The Geneva Salon is not just about new cars, concepts, and styling exercises - it is also a place to show off your race car, either taking a bow about past successes or hoping to sell the latest and greatest. Here are a few of the competition cars that are gracing the stages of the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. 2015 Geneva Salon

Mercedes F1 W05

2015 Geneva Salon Starting at the top, or so the folks who run Formula One would have you believe, is the 2014 Championship winning Mercedes F1 W05. In the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, it dominated proceedings, winning 16 out of 19 Grand Prix. 2015 Geneva Salon Personally, I lost interest in Formula One over 20 years ago - but even I have to admit that this is an impressive piece of kit. Mercedes nailed the new hybrid regulations in 2014, making the other teams and manufacturers look amateur - and it would be a brave punter who would bet against a repeat performance in 2015.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

2015 Geneva Salon Mercedes-Benz has the longest heritage in motorsport, with a competition background stretching back over 120 years - and this 300 SL on display at Geneva is part of that proud history. In 1955, Mercedes-Benz were at the top of the motor racing tree, back-to-back Championship wins in Formula One were added to victories in the endurance classics such as the Mille Miglia. 2015 Geneva Salon In '55 first and second places were taken by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR prototypes, while the GT class honors fell to John Fitch and his navigator, Kurt Gesell, in this 300 SL - finishing a fine fifth place overall. The 417 number signifies their starting time at Brescia of 04:17 am on May 1, 1955.

Mercedes-AMG GT3

2015 Geneva Salon Adding even more to the Mercedes-Benz stand, was their latest sportscar, the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Making its debut here, this car is destined for the highly successful and competitive GT3 class which Mercedes-AMG have a stellar record in. 2015 Geneva Salon The results of the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, particularly in 2013, stands comparison with any racer, I wrote about it at the time, HERE . So the new car has big shoes to fill, but just looking at the new sleek carbon-fibre machine, I feel that it will be more than up to the job. 2015 Geneva Salon Powered by a 6.3 litre V8 engine, the GT3 will undergo an intensive development and test program during 2015 - with the first customer cars being delivered in time for the start of the 2016 season.

Audi R8 LMS

2015 Geneva Salon Another GT3 competitor making its debut at the Geneva Salon was the Audi R8 LMS. If the Mercedes ruled the roost in 2013, it could be said that this Audi's predecessor did so in 2012 and 2014, Balance of Performance sometimes works that way. 2015 Geneva Salon Work started on the new generation R8 in 2014, and the finished product will comply to the safety regulations that are being revised for the 2016 season. 2015 Geneva Salon The car is being developed to be ready to compete in the 24 Hour events at Nürburgring and Spa. Subject to there being nothing amiss with those 'Werks' efforts, Audi will take orders from their customers and get the first batch of cars out before the end of the year.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro LM P1

2015 Geneva Salon Also on the Audi stand was their 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours winner. 2015 Geneva Salon And "Mister Le Mans" himself, Tom Kristensen, was in the house. He recently retired with a record nine victories to his credit - to read more on his races at La Sarthe in an earlier piece I've written, click HERE. In the above shot, he can be seen talking to Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. The Great Dane declared that he was not looking for a seat at Le Mans, he has definitely retired. In between these two heavyweights is Sam Collins of RaceCar Engineering fame.

Nissan GT-R LM P1

2015 Geneva Salon Cox was in Geneva explaining the new Nissan LM P1 program to the mainstream motoring media... and it is certainly different. 2015 Geneva Salon The car is being tested in semi-public this week at Sebring, they have a long road to travel to get ready for Le Mans in June. Find out more about this front wheel drive car here, in a recent DrivingLine article.

Toyota TS040 Hybrid

2015 Geneva Salon Nissan will face not just Audi and Porsche in 2015, but also Toyota. The Japanese giant had their 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship winner on their stand. 2015 Geneva Salon The four-way struggle between the manufacturers for supremacy is a mouth-watering prospect. I looked at the technical and sporting side of the battle in 2014 HERE and HERE and I expect that the contest will be even fiercer, and, of course, we will be there to bring you all the action here at DrivingLine. Next up from the Geneva Motor Show, Rolls-Royce takes bespoke to the next level with "Serenity"...
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