1996 saw the end of the glorious DTM/ITC years and the BPR series was to become the FIA GT for 1997, all that being the result of Bernie’s TV rights madness..! Mercedes and AMG were to enter the evolution of GT racing with their new state of the art design, the CLK-GTR, yeah, it sounded great.
What few people know about this, is that the car was developed using the other state of the art car of the period and the mother of all “Supercars”, a McLaren F1 GTR. Maybe the direct consequence of the tie-up between McLaren and the German manufacturer for their bid in Formula One for 1996, we haven’t got an official proof and it sounds big. The car used for the development was chassis #11R also known as the Larbre Compétition/Franck Muller car which was originally a 1996 GTR featuring the normal “short” tail as seen in BPR.
It then evolved in some sort of “McLades” with a long tail looking similar but totally different from the McLaren one, a way to test the CLK-GTR aerodynamics. The engine was replaced as well with the 6.0 Liter LS600 AMG V12 and that is how it went testing at Jarama. Well, it might not have been a success as Bernd Schneider crashed the car on that same test…
Funny is that the CLK-GTR struggled to beat the McLaren F1 GTR 1997 evolution at the beginning but then, they won everything including the Driver’s and Manufacturer’s championship. Chassis #11R was reconverted and reappeared in 2000 at Sotheby’s Monaco auction as a road legal 1996 F1 GTR with all factory equipment.