Quando Mercedes-Benz presentò la sua prima CLK GTR Roadster nel 1998 costava all’epoca 1,5 milioni dollari, il che la rendeva l’auto di produzione più costosa mai realizzata, una cifra superata solo nel 2005 dalla Ferrari FXX.
La Bonhams Festival of Speed Sale vedrà in offerta il primo esemplare mai costruito di Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster, stimato in £ 1,400,000-1,800,000.
James Knight, Motoring Director di Bonhams: “La vettura è stata proprietà di Mercedes-Benz fino al 2014, quando fu acquistata dall’attuale proprietario. Si, è effettivamente una auto nuova con soli otto chilometri, ed è l’unica dei sei roadster essere rifinita in nero. Raramente si vede una vettura con queste credenziali sul mercato”.
When Mercedes-Benz first unveiled its CLK GTR Roadster in 1998 it sold for an astonishing $1.5 million dollars, making it the most expensive production car ever, a figure only recently exceeded by the Ferrari FXX.
Bonhams Festival of Speed sale will offer the very first example of the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster ever built, estimated at £1,400,000-1,800,000.
James Knight, Bonhams Group Motoring Director, said: “The car was retained by the Mercedes-Benz company until 2014 when it was acquired by the current owner. It is effectively a new car with just eight kilometres on the odometer, and it is the only one of the six roadsters to be finished in black. We rarely see a car with these credentials come to market.”
An open topped variant of the already super-exclusive CLK GTR Coupe – only 25 road going cars were ever produced – the Roadster was made in a very limited edition indeed. The company had the simple but effective idea of removing the roof and installing two roll-over bars and additional strengthening, plus the Roadster engine boasted an engine increased to 640bhp (40 horsepower more than the Coupé) and a Formula 1-style, sequential six-speed transmission controlled by paddles on the steering wheel.
At the end of the 1996 racing season, Mercedes-Benz switched from racing touring cars to sports cars, a decision that left precious little time to develop a challenger for the FIA’s (International Automobile Federation) new GT Championship. The latter’s regulations stipulated that ‘GT1’ category cars had to be production based, so development was entrusted to Mercedes-Benz’s official performance division, AMG. Amazingly, just 128 days after design work had commenced in December 1996, the first Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR took to the track at Jarama in April 1997 for its initial test.
The CLK GTR first won at the challenging Nürburgring in June 1997, going on to win five more of the 11 rounds to take the GT Championship in its debut year. With a new CLK LM (Le Mans) waiting in the wings, the CLK GTR raced just twice in 1998, before being retired from active duty after little more than a season’s racing, but with an impeccable record.
During 1998 and 1999, Mercedes-Benz duly completed 25 road going CLK GTRs. These closely resembled the racing version but had ‘only’ 550bhp and dispensed with the racer’s separate rear wing in favour of a body-integral design. They were also better equipped and kitted out with more creature comforts than the racer. With a headline-grabbing price tag of over $1,000,000, the CLK GTR’s exclusivity was surpassed only by its incredible performance.
La battaglia tra Ford e Ferrari durante gli anni ’60 a vincere la 24 ore di Le Mans ha richiesto non solo grandi progressi innovativi, ma anche il contributo di alcuni tra i piloti più forti dell’epoca, tra questi c’era Bruce McLaren.
La sua esperienza di guida sulla Ford GT40 aveva convinto il neozelandese pilota e ingegnere del potenziale di una macchina così, una vettura che poteva essere omologata per il gruppo 4 destinato alle gare di resistenza come le 24 ore. Era giunto così all’idea di base della M6. Il risultato fu la coupé McLaren M6GT.
Bruce McLaren (left)
Un progetto che Bruce vedeva destinato anche all’uso su strada, ma un tragico destino lo aspettava dietro una curva sul circuito di Goodwood in Inghilterra, strappandolo troppo presto al mondo delle corse. Il suo nome però giungerà fino a noi glorificato dai molteplici successi che la sua scuderia raccoglierà dalla sua fondazione (1963) a oggi: 8 mondiali costruttori e 12 mondali piloti.
Purtroppo anche dopo la sua morte il progetto M6GT non fu portato a termine poiché i nuovi criteri di omologazione del gruppo 4 avrebbero costretto la neonata McLaren a competere con le Porsche 917 lasciando alla vettura inglese poche speranze di vittoria.
Steve McQueen in LeMans the movie
Questa M6GT, restaurata nel 1996, è stata recentemente in mostra negli showroom di McLaren a Newport Beach in California. La vettura è spinta da un 5.0 litri V8 Chevrolet, aspirato con un gruppo carburatori Weber 45IDA e un cambio Hewland LG600. La stima è €190,000 – 230,000.
Della M6GT furono realizzati solo due esemplari originali, quello personale di Bruce McLaren (targato “OBH 500H” ed esposto per lungo tempo presso l’Auckland Transport Museum) e un altro realizzato dalla Trojan per il pilota David Prophet, che lo portò in gara in più occasioni nel 1969.
The Ford Motor Company’s 1960s campaign to challenge Ferrari and win the Le Mans 24-Hour Race required not just innovative engineers but also the assistance of some of the world’s finest drivers, among them experienced F1 star Bruce McLaren. At around the same time New Zealander McLaren was establishing his own team in England and developing the first of the cars that would bear his name, the McLaren M1 sports-racer, developments of which, in the form of the mighty M6 and M8, would later dominate the legendary Can-Am series.
His experience of driving the Ford GT40 had convinced McLaren of the street potential of such a car, which could also be homologated for Group 4 sports car racing. What’s more, he had the ideal basis for such a project in the form of his simple yet highly effective Can-Am sports-racer, the M6. The result was the McLaren M6GT coupé. Only three cars were built, two being converted from M6 Can-Am cars and the other being built from the ground up as a closed coupé by McLaren’s partner Trojan, who were responsible for manufacturing the customer M6B cars. That car was shipped to the USA for the New York Auto Show and subsequently sold to Ted Peterson who used it as Bruce intended, on the road. Bruce too used one on the road but, sadly, there would be no more M6GTs, the project being abandoned after his tragic death in 1970.
Its accompanying FIA papers (issued November 1997) state that the example offered here was first owned by McLaren Cars followed by well-known racing driver David Prophet, who had previously raced a McLaren-Elva. Campaigned at various European circuits throughout the 1969 season, Prophet’s appears to be the only McLaren M6GT with any competition history, racing at Magny-Cours, Dijon, the Norisring, Hockenheim, Crystal Palace and Wunstorf, its only win coming at Crystal Palace in August. Two further owners are listed on the FIA papers: Nigel Allbon (1987) and John Starkey of La Jolla, California (1994).
Restored in 1996 while owned by John Starkey, the M6GT has recently been on display in the showrooms of McLaren Newport Beach in California. The car is powered by a 5.0-litre Chevrolet V8, aspirated via a quartet of Weber 45IDA carburettors and driving via a Hewland LG600 gearbox. Described by the vendor as in generally good condition, this ultra-rare sports-racing GT car is offered with the aforementioned FIA papers and a bill of sale.