No 2 from a series of 25 built, official press car 1997 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR 7.3 litre Coupe Coachwork by AMG Chassis no. WDB A 297 397 1 Y 000 002 Building on the foundations of its hugely successful domestic and international touring car competition programmes of the mid-1990s, Mercedes-Benz re-entered international sports car racing in 1997 with the fabulous CLK GTR. The decision to switch from touring to sports cars had been taken at the end of the 1996 season, leaving precious little time to develop a challenger for the FIA's new GT Championship. The latter's regulations stipulated that GT1 category cars had to be production based, and although the racer used the same 'CLK' designation as the existing road car, it was in fact all new. Development was entrusted to Mercedes-Benz's official performance division AMG. Amazingly, just 128 days after design work had commenced in December 1996, the first Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR took to the track at Jarama in April 1997 for its initial test.
Like Porsche's 911 GT1, the CLK GTR bore a passing resemblance to its roadgoing namesake - the front-engined CLK coupé - but was mid-engined and powered by an SL600-based 6.9-litre V12 producing 600bhp. Mated to a transverse six-speed sequential gearbox, the engine formed a stressed member of the chassis, supporting the rear suspension. The monocoque tub itself was constructed of a mixture of carbonfibre and Kevlar. Unsurprisingly, M-B failed to get the road version homologated in time, but were allowed to race anyway, a dispensation that angered its rivals. The CLK GTR first won at the Nürburgring in June 1997, going on to win five more of the 11 rounds to take the GT Championship in its debut year. With a new CLK LM (Le Mans) waiting in the wings, the CLK GTR raced just twice in 1998, winning the GT Championship's first two rounds at Oschersleben and Silverstone, before being retired from active duty after little more than a season's racing, but with an impeccable record.
During 1997 and 1998, Mercedes-Benz duly completed 25 roadgoing CLK GTRs; 20 coupés and five roadsters. These closely resembled the race-car but developed a more tractable 550bhp and dispensed with the racer's separate rear wing in favour of a body-integral design. They were also better equipped and kitted out with more creature comforts than the spartan racer, the interior every bit as well finished as an S class! With a headline-grabbing price tag of over £1,000,000 plus VAT, the CLK GTR's exclusivity was surpassed only by its stupendous performance, and the entire production run was allocated before the first car was completed.
Chassis number '2', that offered here, was one of AMG’s two official press cars and as such benefited from a few ‘tweaks’ not available to the public. First road registered ‘LB RA 204’ in July 1997, it was featured in the CLK-GTR sales brochure and tested by selected car magazines. It received all the improvements and updates introduced during the construction of the other cars, including a quicker shift time, improved engine management and higher rev limit. In October 1999 the car was sold by HWA (the company formed by AMG’s founder Herr Aufrecht after he merged AMG with Mercedes-Benz) to its first and only private owner, a friend of Herr Aufrecht with a preference for ex-works cars and an impressive motor stable.
In October 2001 the car was returned to HWA for upgrading the engine to the latest 7.3 litre specification, believed to produce around 700bhp (the factory will not divulge this information), this work costing €66,930.
In October 2002 a further service at HWA saw new fuel tanks, fire extinguisher, battery etc fitted at a cost of €36,200. Invoices for this work are also available.
Finished in Mercedes-Benz's Silver Arrows racing livery with anthracite leather interior, this ex-works CLK-GTR has just 12,500 kilometres recorded on the odometer and is offered in mint condition, with current German registration papers.
Mad for tar29 Jan 2012
I second the suggestion that its ricardo zonta on the lock-stops, think he was doing a bit of factory driving for mercedes in 97ish?? Or had he moved onto f1 by that stage?? I'm open to correction!!