The 300 SLR was a development of the ultra successful W.196 Grand Prix machine. It enjoyed an unbelievable 1955 season, the only year it raced, finishing at least first and second in every race it entered, apart from Le Mans.
At Le Mans two innovations were introduced, in the interests of braking efficiency. Firstly pumps were fitted, to deliver oil to whichever brake drum might be seizing. Secondly, and much more radically, air brakes were fitted, which not only assisted the overworked drums, but also greatly added to stability in fast corners, and in the wet could be used without the danger of locking up.
What could have been the best Le Mans ever ended in tragedy at 6.30 pm. Although the race continued with the Mercedes and Jaguar locked in combat until midnight, when the decision was made to pull out , leaving Jaguar with a sad, hollow victory.