The CLK GTR has an altogether less impressive record than the McLaren F1 GTR and Porsche 911 GT1 it was designed to beat. The CLK GTR was the most eagerly-sought road model, however, with 300 buyers trying to own one of the 25 road cars to be produced by AMG and the re-established M-B factory racing team.
Mercedes took the ultimate in gentlemen's intermissions from LeMans after the tragic accident of 1955 killed dozens of spectators. A car out of control and taking flight before a huge crash was too similar to the 1930s Silver Arrows accidents, wherein famous race drivers were killed during horrific accidents on Vmax runs.
1955 Crash - Raw Footage
The CLK GTR took off over a slight hill on the Le Sarthe racetrack of LeMans 24-hours, doing a dozen backflips before crashing over the barrier and into the trees.
All this was too much for Mercedes to stomach. Three incredible, world-beating racecars... all taking flight at maximum speeds!?
Too much. Luckily, the driver Mark Webber walked away from the 1998 wreck and no spectators were injured.
But it cast a fairly dark shadow over Mercedes racing efforts.
The CLK GTR was actually totally redesigned for the 1998 race season after faring poorly versus the Porsche in years prior. But the road cars were assembled using the original bodywork and 6.9-liter V12 engine. (The racecars switched to a V8 for 1998's LeMans racer under the name CLK GTR LM.)
So, a bit of a clouded history with the CLK GTR overall.
But this one is by far the best road-going, homologation model ever produced.
The main reason it is so special is that the original 6.9-liter V12 was swapped by AMG masters H.W.A. in Germany in favor of a 7.3-liter V12 with more power and better driveability.
The final reason this particular car is so special is that the big V12 was not fit with any restrictor plates or other FIA-required engine limiters. This explains is SuperSport nomenclature.
So this is the wildest, most ferociously-fast CLK GTR -- and Mercedes road racer -- of all time.
1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR SuperSport
17-18 August 2012
1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR
To be auctioned on Friday, August 17, 2012
Sold for $1,100,000
- Chassis no. WDB2973971Y000012
720 bhp, 7.3-liter dual overhead cam naturally aspirated V-12 engine, six-speed sequential manual gearbox with paddle-shift operation, double wishbone with push-rod, actuated coil spring with shock absorber front and rear suspension, and four-wheel vented carbon fiber disc brakes with anti-lock braking system. Wheelbase: 105.1"
• The first of only 25 built
• Major performance upgrades by AMG partner H.W.A. to the most desirable “SuperSport” 720 bhp, 7.3-liter V-12 specification
• Only 1,335 miles from new
• Numerous extras, including luggage