...with a little help from a McLaren F1 GTR.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Mercedes-AMG is releasing short videos about some of its greatest race cars. A video on the CLK GTR revealed an interesting fact on this two-time championship-winning car: It was developed in just 128 days.
Yes, it took Mercedes just four months over the winter of 1996/1997 to develop one of the greatest cars of the GT1 era. A car that never won Le Mans, but that claimed victory in virtually everything else it entered, including all 10 rounds of the 1998 FIA GT Championship.
What this video doesn't tell you is that Mercedes had a bit of an assist from McLaren in developing the CLK GTR. Rather, a McLaren. As our Máté Petrány reported over at Jalopnik, Mercedes actually bought an F1 GTR, chassis #11R, as a development mule for the CLK GTR.
The planned cancellation of DTM after the 1996 season didn't leave Mercedes-AMG much time to develop a car. To speed things up, AMG figured buying an F1 GTR—which won Le Mans in 1995 and the BPR Global GT Championship in 1995 and 1996—would be the best course of action. AMG bought #11R from French team Labré Competition, and proceeded to modify its bodywork and install its own 6.0-liter V12.
Driver Bernd Schneider crashed the prototype during its only test, but AMG still managed to get the CLK GTR ready for the 1997 season, which it won. And, F1 GTR #11R was later restored to its former glory.