Mercedes CLK GTR

January 21st, 2019 by

Mercedes CLK GTR

Sport car enthusiasts and race car fanatics are sure to know the prowess of the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR- the race car built by Mercedes-AMG, the performance and motorsports arm of the Mercedes-Benz brand. As one of the rarest Mercedes production cars in the world, this top-shelf vehicle made waves in the industry when it was first showcased in 1997, and continues to excite as limited editions resurface on the market for purchase.  

This article by Pfaff Mercedes will be exploring the history behind the Mercedes CLK GTR and what sets it apart from other race cars turned road cars.

The Design

The requirements for entering the then-new FIA GT Championship series demanded automotive companies to build and sell 25 street legal examples of their race cars. So Mercedes-Benz got down to business to develop the CLK GTR.

The aim was to create an ultimate racing car that still maintained some aspects of a standard, street legal car. The body was made entirely out of carbon fibre, complete with aerodynamic design elements, and cooling openings to survive the harsh heat of the race track. Mounted behind the cockpit was the star of the show, a Mercedes M120 V12 engine.

The Race

In a span of 128 days, the CLK GTR was conceived, planned, and built by the mechanics of Mercedes AMG, whereby the two prototypes were entered into the 1997 FIA GT CHampionship season, debuting at one of Mercedes-Benz’s home tracks, the Hockenheimring. Unsuccessful in the first race, the CLK GTR would not be deterred.

As the season progressed, another vehicle was added to the Mercedes fleet in time for the fourth round at Nurburgring. It was here that the CLK GTR outshine its competition, placing first and second. Overall, the Mercedes team finished the season with five more wins securing them the spot of the team championship, as well as drivers championship.


In an attempt to keep the price as low as possible, while offering up the authentic feel of a race car, the CLK GTR provided minimum comfort and refinement to the driver in the 25 models made, 20 coupes and 5 roadsters. The road car possessed the same V12 engine, along with the stylistic elements, but with added traction control for driver safety.

Enhancements were made to the engine, increasing displacement from 6.0 L to 6.9 L, while removing the racing air restrictor, enabling for 612 PS at 6,800 rpm and torque to 775 Nm at 5,250 rpm. Mercedes-AMG claimed that the CLK GTR boasted an acceleration from 0-100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of 344 km/h.

A Collector’s Dream

The Guinness Book of World Records toted the CLK GTR as the most expensive production car ever built at the time, with a staggering price tag of $1,547,620(USD), in 1997.

In recent years these historical models are sporadically popping up on the market, with less than 1500 km of mileage attached to them. One of the twenty-five models was recently auctioned off for $4.5 million.

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Posted in Cars, Mercedes