In 1997 Mercedes re-entered international sportscar racing after spending the previous years in DTM. The GT1 class stipulated cars must be production-based and thus, in just 128 days of design work at the end of 1996, the ‘CLK’ GTR was born. Far from the road car of the same name, the GTR lifted the SL600 power-plant, reworked and then mid-mounted as a stress-bearer supporting the rear suspension behind the new, carbon fibre and Kevlar monocoque tub.
Despite failure to homologate the road-car before the 1997 season began, Mercedes was still allowed to compete, much to the dismay of its competitors. The CLK won 6 of the 11 rounds taking the GT Championship in its debut year. The car would only race twice in 1998 in the first two rounds, winning both before retiring from the season before the CLK LM took over.
During 1998 and 1999, Mercedes completed 25 homologated chassis’ plus 2 prototypes. One of the prototypes was crash tested and destroyed. Mercedes completed just 20 of the intended 25 homologated coupes. The final 5 chassis’ plus the original prototype would later be converted into roadsters. Evidently a £1.5m road-going race car proving slightly harder to sell than anticipated in the late 1990s! The CLK GTR featured a slightly detuned version of the race engine with c.600hp mated to the sequential gearbox. The road cars earned a leather interior, radio and similar creature comforts.
HWA was formed by the co-founder of AMG in its hometown of Affalterbach when Mercedes bought AMG, with the intention of continuing to pursue glory in the GT series. Their first project, the CLR was developed without the need for a road-going variant. A series of high-profile accidents forced the car to retire from international competition.
This example has covered just 6,400 kilometres from new and is presented in the very rare combination of Iridium Silver metallic with Stirling Moss '300SLR' grey-blue heritage plaid. Just three cars left the factory with this interior optioned in homage to that of Sir Stirling’s 300 SLR which took 1st OA at the 1955 Mille Miglia averaging a staggering 97.96mph average over 1,660kms.
This example was supplied to its first private owner, registered in Switzerland. It is understood that Mercedes had two ‘press’ cars, #001 that was born an out-and-out race car and was converted to a road car for homologation purposes as well as used in initial press images wearing registration ‘LB:RA100’ in the images. After homologation it was converted back to a race car; the interior remained a race car throughout.
#003 was the second press car and was used in several articles and reviews at the time of the launch of the car. Tiff Needell tested the car for Top Gear magazine as well as filming a short video review on the car that be seen below. This car has since been retrimmed with a red and black leather interior.
This example echoed the specification of the two press cars but was only used in one article ahead of delivery to its first owner.
The car would remain in Switzerland seeing occasional use until its sale in 2016 from leading marque specialists, Kienle Automotive of Germany. SPS was involved in the sale to the current owner and in 2017, the car was returned to them. At this time, the car received a comprehensive and meticulous service with every item being checked and documented. The major service also included the replacement of the fuel bladder and a new fire extinguisher was installed.
Today this example presents superbly and is accompanied by all its original accessories; Three original AMG Elephants feet, original book pack and original numbered wired charger. The car is further accompanied by a bespoke set of larger OZ alloy wheels and tyres, designed to help in tyre selection.
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