To compete in the new FIA GT series in 1997, Mercedes-Benz created the CLK GTR. This car combines the qualities of race-ready performance and street luxury, and continues to fascinate car enthusiasts and collectors around the world.
In the mid-1990s, the world of GT racing was dominated by the formidable McLaren F1. Mercedes-Benz didn’t back down from the challenge and decided to enter the ring to outdo its rivals on the track. The result was a machine that not only met the standards set by F1, but heralded a new era of racing.
This car was a rarity from the start, because the car, designed as a racing car, was produced in a limited production, only 26 examples. Not only is it very attractive because it is a rare piece, but by winning the FIA GT championship in 1997 and 1998, it also immediately found its way into the hearts of collectors and motorsport enthusiasts thanks to its great performance.
Its long, low silhouette is unmistakable and exceptionally aerodynamic. Width, gaping air intakes and rear wing, which betrays its race pedigree, immediately catch the eye. The double doors add a special flair as they swing open upwards.
The interior decidedly minimalist, reflecting the racing heritage, with all elements designed more for function. However, it doesn’t completely miss luxury; the cabin features leather bucket seats which is rare in racing cars. The car have amenities such as air conditioning and an audio system.
The chassis houses a formidable 6.9-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine, although some versions have a slightly smaller 6.8-litre engine because of racing rules. This mighty powerplant is capable of producing up to 600bhp, which will propel the CLK GTR from a standing start to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Top speed is literally breathtaking, 320 km/h.
The car’s rigid carbon fibre construction provides excellent crash protection.
This car was produced in three versions, a road car, a Super Sport version and a race car. All three versions had their own characteristics, depending on whether the car was designed for road or race use. There were 20 road versions and 6 roadster versions, as well as 2 prototypes.
Although road legal, the CLK GTR is designed primarily for racing, which means its suitability for everyday use is limited. Its performance and design are best appreciated in controlled environments or private collections.
As a Mercedes model, the CLK (chassis number C208) was available in an incredibly wide range, from the 2 litre 135 hp street car to the 600 hp street-legal racing car.
Owning a car like this is rare and privileged, as the small number of examples produced in the first place, combined with the quality of the brand and the car’s peak performance, means that its value is constantly increasing.
A ‘simpler’ AMG version of this, the C55 AMG, is in our museum collection.

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