Take a look at 50 years of Mercedes-AMG’s banzai racers

AMG celebrates 50 years. Here are some of its greatest – and coolest – ever hits


1971: Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL takes 2nd place at the Spa 24hrs
The monster 6.8-litre Benz was modified extensively by AMG – to the tune of 428bhp – and thanks to the heroic efforts of Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz, finished second overall at the 1971 Spa 24hr race.

Guess what it was nicknamed? No, not that. Or that. 

Red Pig.



1980: Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC AMG winning at the ‘Ring
Take a moment to just enjoy the image of the AMG above. It’s a 450 SLC, and in 1980, won the Touring Car GP on the north loop of the Nürburgring. This from AMG: “After a two year development period the sensational coupe with the infernal sound had thus fulfilled its remit to acquire technical know how for the road going vehicles.”

Yup, not just any sound, but infernal sound.


1987: 500 SEC DTM is built. But never raced…
True story. AMG built a touring car out of the 500 SEC over the winter of 1987/1988 for Group A, but couldn’t homologate it so it never raced, and “the huge V8 beast disappeared into the garage for the time being…”


1989: 190 E 2.5-16 Evo rules them all
Klaus Ludwig and Kurt Thiim won seven races in the ’89 DTM season in the revised 190 E.


1989: the 500 SEC raced at the ‘Ring and at Spa
The revised SEC racer now developed 460bhp from its 5.0-litre V8, and raced at the Nürburgring and Spa 24hrs in 1989. Good.


1991: Ludwig and Thiim race the Evo II
Ludwig became the runner up in that year’s DTM championship, with AMG winning the team championship.


1992: AMG win the DTM. Again
A phenomenal year for AMG, as it won 16 races in the DTM to take the Team and Constructors’ Championship, while Ludwig took the DTM drivers’ champion. Thiim was runner up.

Later, Keke Rosberg piloted a 190E. And won. And a certain Bernd Schneider would call attention to his DTM talents…


1997: the CLK GTR is born
AMG took just 128 days to build one of the wildest racers to have ever graced a circuit. The 6.9-litre, 612bhp V12-engined monster was able to accelerate to 62mph in 3.7s, and passed some of its tech into AMG’s road car range.

Schneider and Ludwig drove in ’97 in the FIA GT championship, Schneider ultimately taking the drivers’ title (AMG won six races overall).


1998: the CLK GTR wins every single race in the GT championship
Eleven races, all won by the CLK GTR, with Ludwig and Ricardo Zonta taking the drivers’ title, and Schneider and a certain Mark Webber coming in at second place.


2002: the new CLK DTM is unveiled, and Jean Alesi drove it
Former Ferrari F1 driver Jean Alesi joined the AMG line-up, though ultimately finished fifth that year (Audi’s Laurent Aiello won the drivers’ title). No matter: Merc still took the Team and Constructors’ titles.

In 2003, Schneider would take his fourth DTM title. This guy, honestly.


2005: Gary Paffet wins in the C-Class DTM
The British driver won five races to take the title. Also of note: two-time F1 champ Mika Hakkinen also starred in the C-Class, winning at Spa. Mika’s a gent.


2011: SLS GT3 makes its debut
And it looked – looks – fantastic. In 2012, the SLS would win nine titles and 43 victories across the world.

And in 2013, it’d win the Dubai, Nürburgring and Spa 24 hour races too.


2014: Hamilton kicks off the Merc-AMG era of F1
…by winning his second – and AMG’s first – Formula One drivers’ and Constructors’ title. Rosberg was runner up.

Hamilton would of course win again in 2015, while Pascal Wehrlein took the DTM title in the C-Class Coupe. Wehrlein would later make his move into F1 proper.


2016: AMG GT3 makes its mark, and Rosberg wins
The new AMG GT3 occupied the first four places at the Nürburgring 24 hour race, while Rosberg would win a closely fought F1 battle against Hamilton and emerge as world champion.


2017: Merc-AMG reveals special edition GT3 car
So, to celebrate 50 years of AMG doing quite well at this whole racing lark, it has unveiled a limited run of 50 AMG GT3 customer racers. It gets a special paint finish, a silver framed logo, carbon fibre aero parts and a ‘performance’ exhaust system, giving the GT3 car “an acoustic USP”. (read: loud).

Quite a collection of racers, no? Now comes the time where we throw it over to you - if you had just one car you could take home from this garage, which would it be?

Author: TopGear
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