Mercedes CLK-GTR prototype was a McLaren F1

Mercedes CLK-GTR was born as a result of DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) and ITC (International Touring Car Series) demise in 1996 as Mercedes’ only rivals Opel and Alfa Romeo left the championship due to unfavorable economics.

Mercedes-Benz with racing in its DNA had to compete in a top tier racing series, and FIA GT Championship which included Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren seemed a good fit.

Mercedes CLK-GTR

Rebodied McLaren F1 GTR with V12 Mercedes-AMG engine

Mercedes CLK-GTR was born to compete in the FIA GT Championship.

Mercedes was pressed for time, and they needed to speedup the development of their new race car.

Mercedes-AMG had 130 days to design the Mercedes CLK-GTR race car from ground up and race it.

The McLaren F1 GTR was dominating the series, so what does Mercedes do? Mercedes bought the defending BPR GT series champion McLaren F1 GTR from Larbre Competition.

Purchasing the McLaren F1 GTR allowed Mercedes-AMG to study its competition by running the car through its paces and study its track times to measure the Mercedes CLK-GTR’s abilities against it.

Mercedes-AMG continued to use the McLaren F1 GTR to perfect the aerodynamics they were designing for their new race car the Mercedes CLK-GTR.

Mercedes CLK-GTR had one task, and it was to beat ALL its competitors.

Mercedes CLK-GTR

McLaren F1 GTR dressed with Mercedes CLK-GTR aerodynamics

Mercedes-AMG got to work by stripping the McLaren F1 GTR’s aerodynamics and body panels and dressed it with Mercedes CLK-GTR’s body panels and aerodynamic bits, and replaced the McLaren F1’s V12 BMW engine with their own V12 LS600 6.0 liter masterpiece capable of over 600 hp. The Mercedes CLK-GTR’s prototype McLaren F1 with the V12 Mercedes engine demolished all the lap records McLaren F1 with V12 BMW engine had previously set and so was the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR AMG was born.

Mercedes CLK-GTR

Mercedes CLK-GTR leading the pack during 1997 FIA GT

Mercedes raced the newly developed full carbon fiber Mercedes CLK-GTR 128 days after its first drawing were pencilled, and although it suffered mechanical issues within the first three races, Mercedes-AMG engineers sorted out all the car’s issues and went on winning the fourth race and continued on destroying its competition.

Mercedes-AMG won the 1997 FIA GT Championship, and their lead driver Bernd Schneider won the 1997 FIA GT Driver Championship with the Mercedes CLK-GTR.

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