The 1984 Mercedes Saloon Car race at the Nürburgring was meant to be a casual affair, quite who thought it actually would be a casual affair is unclear. It seems naive to think that a race track stacked with some of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time, all in identical cars, would be anything other than a four-wheeled version of a bare knuckle fist fight.

The grid featured Jack Brabham, Phil Hill, Denis Hulme, James Hunt, Jacques Laffite, Niki Lauda, Carlos Reutemann, Keke Rosberg, Jody Scheckter, Manfred Schurti, Alain Prost, John Watson and newcomer Ayrton Senna, all driving identical Mercedes Benz 190E 2.3-16s. Senna took the Mercedes by the neck, squeezed every ounce of performance out of it and won the race ahead of Lauda.

Ayrton had arrived.

Interestingly this was the first time Prost and Senna met, Prost actually picked Senna up from the airport and drove him 2 hours to the circuit, chatting a little on the way. For all that would come later between these two World Champions, it seems somehow fitting that they got to know each other sitting side by side in a car.

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