Jenson Button Drives 1934 Mercedes-Benz W25S

The W25 was the first Silver Arrow, and one of many to make an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Watch the F1 championship leader drive it 75 years after its German debut.

The W25 was created by a resurgent Mercedes-Benz to rule the world, which it did after some teething pains. It was designed in 1933 to race in the 750 kg formula, which stipulated that a car’s weight cannot exceed 750 kilos (1650 lb). Unfortunately, upon closer inspection the W25 did exceed that weight.

Driver Manfred von Brauchitsch recalls in his autobiography the decision to scrap all the German racing white paint off the aluminum bodywork during the night before the car’s first race, the 1934 Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The jettisoned paint dipped the car’s weight below the threshold and in his legal and lightweight car von Brauchitsch proceeded to win the race.

The car was a brilliant, dominating achievement for Mercedes, which had been struggling at this point against Scuderia Ferrari’s Alfa Romeo P3’s. The shriek you hear in the video is the supercharger blowing through the carburators of the 3.3-liter straight eight engine, giving it 354 HP at 5800 RPM, incredible numbers for its day.

On the morning of the Festival of Speed’s closing day, Brawn GP’s championship-leading driver Jenson Button took it for a ride at Goodwood. He rather liked it.

Photo Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images