Karl Kling, born in the town of Giessen, makes his début in motor sports shortly before WWII, racing occasionally for Mercedes-Benz at touring car events. After 1948 he becomes German Sports Car champion three times. Kling achieves his first great successes for Mercedes-Benz with the 300 SL (W 194) racing sports cars. Among these, his victory together with co-pilot Hans Klenk in the 1952 Carrera Panamericana will remain unforgotten. Upon Mercedes-Benz’s return to Grand Prix sport in 1954, Kling is part of its successful driver team along with Juan Manuel Fangio, Hermann Lang, and Hans Herrmann.
Kling, dubbed by Alfred Neubauer “Gentleman at the wheel”, wins numerous exceptional places for the Mercedes-Benz team. For example, he starts off by reaching a second place behind Fangio in the very first Formula One race Mercedes-Benz enters, the 1954 French Grand Prix in Reims. In 1956, Kling succeeds Alfred Neubauer as head of the Sports division. He continues to occasionally take part in competitions himself, for example, in 1959 he wins the Rallye Méditerrannée–Le Cap from Algiers to Cape Town and back, and in 1961 the Algiers–Central Africa Rally from Algiers to Lagos and back. After his retirement he continues to collaborate with the Mercedes-Benz Sports division as a consultant.