It’s not everyday you see a Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, let alone drive one, so naturally YouTube vlogger Shmee was quite excited to grab the keys. The opportunity to drive came about through The Collection 1 and Supercars Club Arabia hosting an event at the Bahrain Formula One track where the CLK GTR was joined by a McLaren F1, Porsche 911 GT1, and a Maserati MC12.
Clambering into the carbon fiber cabin and buckling the harnesses, this race-bred 1990s supercar’s V12 engine roars into life. Its unrefined nature is clear from the moment it leaves the pit lane with a whining transmission and droning engine at cruising speeds. This is a car built for racing with road cars only really existing for homologation purposes.
If you’re looking to see this car stretch its legs in this video, you’ll be disappointed as Shmee is only driving it for a parade lap and photoshoot. That said, it does provide a rare look at this legendary Mercedes in motion — something that the YouTuber appears to almost cry over.
The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR served to homologate the racing car which required at least 25 road-going variants to be created to be deemed legal for the GT1 class. In total, 20 coupe models and 6 Roadster variants were built by AMG, each with a monstrous 604-horsepower 6.9-liter V12 engine. Performance was similar to the racing car with a 0-60 mph time of 3.1-seconds and a top speed of 215 mph.
Engineers were keen to retain the experience of the racing car for road customers, and so very few luxuries were added. The cabin is spartan with its only real comfort being air conditioning. Traction control was also fitted to these road cars, but only to increase driver safety.
Today CLK GTRs are hard to come by, but a 1998 example recently sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction in 2018 for $4,515,000. GT1 homologations are truly the unicorns of the performance car world.
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