Home / Social media / News / A rare, iconic Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR GT1 heads to auction as a Sotheby's Sealed sale.


To compete in the FIA GT Championship in 1997, Mercedes-AMG had to create something very special, and fast, to be able to hold the automaker’s name high. The creation needed to be faster than the dominating car in the series, and so the automaker put their all into the new car. The company bought McLaren’s successful F1 GTR chassis, the 11R from 1996 and chucked the existing BMW engine and replaced it with a normally aspirated Mercedes-AMG 6.0-litre V-12. This cut down on production and development time and led to the rapid development of an all-new car with a Mercedes chassis. The Mercedes lump was removed from the test car and restored to have the original McLaren powerplant.  Days. Keeping in line with homologation rules, road-going versions needed to be created and 20 CLK GTRs and six Roadster versions were built between 1997 and 1999. The rules also required a single example of both road and race variants to be built prior to racing, and so chassis 004, the second car built, was converted to road use complete with its race fuel filler, race-spec wing, and sequential gearbox. Shortcuts that worked. Chassis 004 holds a special place in Mercedes-Benz history as it was campaigned from the beginning of its inaugural championship. The Warsteiner-liveried car took overall victory at four rounds of the 1997 race season, topping the podium at the Nürburgring, Donington, Sebring, and Laguna Seca. The three wins from four races in the closing stages of the season sealed a historic championship for Mercedes-Benz. The CLK GTR was completely bespoke, only the headlights, taillights, and front grille were kept from the roadgoing CLK, and the rest of the car was custom-built to have the best competitive advantage on track. The chassis was outsourced to British firm Lola and featured a carbon-fibre monocoque with an aluminium honeycomb frame making it as lightweight as possible while still conforming to the stringent class rules set by the FIA.

Powering the car was the aforementioned normally aspirated V12, but in race spec it was given an increase in capacity to 6.9 litres. It featured titanium conrods, steel castings were replaced by magnesium and the compression ratio was raised to 12:1 from 10:1 and it could rev through to 7,000 rpm. This helped take the power to 441 kW with 700 Nm of torque. Power was sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed sequential Xtrac transmission. The car was capable of getting up to 100 km/h in just 3.2 seconds and could top out at 330 km/h. To reign the car in, it was outfitted with massive carbon-ceramic brake discs. The technology was first developed for Concorde and borrowed from Formula 1. As you can see from the images taken for the Sotheby’s Sealed sale, the car on auction is in as close to perfect condition as possible. The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR was a significant model for the company, and off the track, the roadgoing examples have become one of the most sought-after and rare supercars of its generation. It was sold in smaller numbers than the iconic McLaren F1 but at a much higher cost. Even now, they rarely come up for sale. Seeing one of the actual racecars up for sale is even rarer, but that’s what you see here headed to the auction block. This exact car is the aforementioned Chassis 004, the car that made history. The car should fetch some impressive money, the road-going version was valued between $8,000,000 and $10,000,000 in 2022. With the way the world is now, they would be worth more than that. There are no details on the reserve set for this race version, but after trawling through a few websites, it could see upwards of $15,000,000 when the hammer drops. Sotheby’s Sealed sales are usually very private, so we may never know who the new owner may be if the bidding surpasses the reserve price. Hopefully whoever ends up with it will display it at places likethe Goodwood Festival of Speed and Pebble Beach so that the world can still see its awesomeness. It would be even better if it was seen on track like in the attached classic images from the Revs Institute Inc.

Take a look at the YouTube video showcasing one of the coolest Mercedes-Benz racecars in the history of racing, the iconic Mercedes-AMG CLK GTR GT1 that was created to compete in the 1997 FIA GT championship. The car had a successful race history and was piloted by some legendary names, including Bernd Schneider. The man is an absolute legend in racing circles, so his name adds a measure of authenticity to the car and the sale: The Mercedes-AMG CLK GTR GT1: Mercedes-Benz Triumphant Return to Racing Form | Sotheby's

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