Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR

Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR: Iconic racing car and super car

Tuesday, 3. October 2017 | Michelle Zumstein

The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR is an iconic racing car that outshined its competitors both on the race track and on the streets.

The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR as racing car

The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR was constructed in the winter of 1996/97 and was designed to compete in the FIA GT World Championship. To meet the requirements of the FIA (called homologation), Mercedes-Benz was obliged to produce 25 CLK GTR street-legal serial models. The production was performed in the AMG factory of Mercedes. Two of the biggest racers of Germany were involved: Klaus Ludwig and Bernd Schneider.

Thanks to an exemption, the CLK GTR could participate in the Championship before the 25 serial models were even finalized. Subsequently, the race car won the FIA GT Championship and dominated nearly all races in 1998. Overall, the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR won the FIA GT Championship twice. Due to lack of competition, the GT1 Championship was shut down after 1998 in favor of the related categories GT2 and GT3.

Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR GT1

The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR as supercar

Only in 1999, after the ending of the series, the 25 street-legal CLK GTR models were delivered. In 2002, some roadster models were constructed in addition. The chassis and the whole car body of the vehicle is made of a carbon composite. The doors open upwards and forward-turned. Untypically for Mercedes, they chose a mid-engine construction. Therefore, the engine is located a bit in front of the rear axle of the super car.

Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Front

A 6.0-liter, V-12 engine with 631 HP is used. The power of the engine is transmitted to the rear axle via a sequential transmission with six gears. Thus, the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR reaches a top speed of 320 km/h. Two of the 25 vehicles even feature a 7.3-liter V12 AMG engine with 664 HP. 20 of the vehicles are coupés while 5 are roadster models, two of them right-hand driven.

Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster

At the time, the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR was the most expensive production car with a selling price of €1’571’711. Many buyers come from the United Arab Emirates, for example the FIA official Mohammed Bin Sulayem from Dubai.

Cover Picture: Picture by Junaidrao / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

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