Thread: Clr?
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Old 02-25-2003, 02:32 PM   #21
Guido
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Some history background here.

In 1996 Mercedes was racing in DTM through AMG with their C-Class series. At the end of 96 Opel and Alfa Romeo pulled out of DTM so Mercedes was left behind alone with no DTM series anymore. Thus they decided overnight to take part in the FIA-GT series the year after and AMG build the CLK-GTR. Hence it's big succes they decided to build a CLK-GTR for LeMans which was the year after that developped into the CLR with the disatreous outcome. Flipping at high-speed (after losing downforce in running to close behind a competitor and alternatively pulling out of the event. (note: This also happened on several occasions with Porsche GT-1's, so not only Mercedes problem here)

Meanwhile Norbert Haug, Sport Director at Mercedes, was pushing hard to re-open the DTM series, which happened in 2000. Since DTM is in Germany far more popular then LeMans, it has a whole year visibilty where LeMans is only one race, it makes a lot more sence from a marketing point of view to invest in DTM. Audi however is running at LeMans with factory cars, whereas in the DTM, the Audi TT's are not workscars.

Also in the late '90s Mercedes was not heavily involved in F-1 as far as resources are concerned. Ilmore build the engines and badged them Mercedes. After Paul Ilmor died in a plane crash, ILMOR's management was cut in two and after that misfortune, McLaren and Mercedes decided to involve the engine builders in Stutgart more and more. Now Ilmor and Mercedes are sharing resources and now a lot of people from Mercedes are actually working on F-1.

Mercedes returning to LeMans? I don't think so. They have a DTM program through HWA-AMG and F-1 programme now. So why do all the investment. Makes no sence, does it?
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