In this history spotlight, we highlight the development of the CLK-GTR. In the beginning of December 1996, and the CLK-GTR project was given the green light. The AMG team had a blank sheet of paper and a fixed date of April 12, 1997 for the start of the new FIA GT championship season. Thus, they had exactly 128 days to create a super sports car for the road and develop two racing vehicles from it. An ambitious project which could only be attempted because of AMG’s years of motor sport experience. The first sketches from the AMG designers soon took tangible form on the CAD monitors. Just in time for Christmas, a true to detail 1:5 scale model appeared. The Daimler-Benz executive board gave the go-ahead for the next step. The New Year was celebrated with fireworks of a special kind as the twelve cylinder motor from the S-Class, reworked for the racing application, came to life on the test bed for the first time. Manufacturing of the individual components also began. All the parts, from the drive shaft to the tension rods, were produced at high speed and began to form a fascinating whole as they are fitted together. The first victory of a Silver Arrow in a Formula 1 Grand Prix since 1955, in Melbourne, Australia, gave the AMG team an additional boost and spurred them to even greater efforts. The workshop lights burned day and night as the first prototype approached completion. Then, just 128 days after the starting pistol sounded, the CLK-GTR made its debut. It proved on the Jarama race track that it could put into practice all that it promised in theory. AMG’s new star did not disappoint. Good lap times and high reliability spoke wonders for the achievement of the team and provided an excellent starting point from which to mobilize the last reserves of strength for the final spurt. There was only one more week before the road vehicle had to be ready for FIA approval and the two cars ready for racing. The date was met. While the technical committee of the FIA was inspecting the sports car for the road on April 8, 1997, just a few paces away, Bernd Schneider was putting the finishing touches to his new piece of sports equipment. Only hours after rolling from the transporter before the beginning of practice in Hockenheim, the CLK-GTR was in pole position at the start of its very first race. At this unforgettable moment, it was clear to everyone concerned that they had not only won a breathtaking race against time, but that they had also built a new Silver Arrow which transfered the tradition of the Fifties to the present.
You have got to love homologation rules!
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