1999 Mercedes-Benz CLR

Images courtesy and copyright James Farruggia, Frederic Le Floc'h and Mercedes-Benz AG
Text copyright Michael J. Fuller
The 1999 CLR design wasn't particularly innovative.  But Mercedes showed up at Le Mans with a car they felt should win.  Thirty thousand kilometers had been spent testing, nothing had been left to chance.  But it soon became clear that both BMW and Toyota had equipment the equal, if not simply superior, so too the upstart Panoz.  Ultimately though, the CLR is noteworthy for one thing in particular, the very public, and very dramatic, aerodynamic induced back flips that it underwent on three separate occasions at Le Mans in 1999.

Why did the Mercedes CLR Flip at Le Mans?
Click on each image below...
1999 Mercedes-Benz CLR Specifications
Designer:Gerhard Ungar
Layout: Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Monocoque: Carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque with integrated carbon fiber roll-over cage
Engine: 5721 cc V8 (GT 108 C), 2-valves/cylinder, DOHC, mid-engine, load-bearing, two air restrictors, dry sump lubrication system, electronically controlled ignition and injection system (Bosch Motronic). 
Gearbox: X-Trac, unsynchronised, straight toothed six-speed gearbox with magnesium casing, sequential manual gearshift
Steering: Rack-and-pinion power steering, steering wheel with airbag
Suspension: F: Upper and lower A-arms, pushrod activation of the spring/damper, attached directly to monocoque

R: Upper and lower A-arms, pushrod activation of the spring/damper, attached directly to gearbox casing

Brakes: Dual circuit brake system with tandem master brake cylinder, six-piston aluminum fixed calipers, internally ventilated brake discs and carbon brake linings. 
Wheels: 18" diameter undivided magnesium wheels
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza; maximum permissible tire width: 14"; maximum permissible tire diameter: 28" 
Length: 4893 mm 
Width: 1999 mm 
Height: 1012 mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm 
Front Overhang: 1090 mm
Rear Overhang: 1140 mm
Weight: 921 kgs (1999 Le Mans average)
Tank capacity: 90 liters
ęCopyright 2011, Michael J. Fuller