She embodied the modern, affluent woman of the Twenties – adventurous and with a passion for motor cars. In a time when women had only just attained the right to vote, a woman driving a sports car was considered unladylike and a downright scandal. Ernes Merck came from an industrialist family from Darmstadt. Through her husband, Wilhelm Merck, a factory owner, she came into contact with motor racing and came to share his passion for fast motor cars. Very soon she took he place at the wheel herself, to drive at full speed as well. In 1922 Ernes Merck took part in her first race, reaching a "creditable finishing position". She then improved her racing skills and worked her way to the front. In many contests the Mercedes factory driver bested a number of proud racing drivers.