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Benz bullet ready to race

Mighty Merc: Mercedes-Benz will contest the German Touring Car championship with this hot version of the CLK430.

Mercedes-Benz has designed a sleek super coupe for the 2000 German Touring Car championship

11 Nov 1999

MERCEDES-BENZ has unveiled a dramatic looking version of the CLK430 designed to contest the new 2000 German Touring Car Championship.

Powering the cars will be a low maintenance 4.0-litre V8 engine that must not be replaced during the season - a measure to keep costs down. Power is expected to be limited to a relatively conservative 335kW at 7500rpm.

The menacing looking Benz racer features an aggressive aerodynamic body kit with a tarmac scraping airdam and prominent rear wing. Huge multi-spoked alloy wheels add to its purposeful stance.

Australian car enthusiasts will be able to get at least some idea of what the Benz racer looks like when the road-going CLK55 - used as the official safety car for Formula One events - makes its debut here next year.

The German Touring Car Championship's V8 rear-wheel drive formula is similar to that for the Australian Supercar series, except there will be no Commodores or Falcons in the fray.

The race series promises competitive racing thanks to regulations that place the emphasis on low-cost technology. There is a restriction on all active, electronic or hydraulic control systems.

Organisers of the series have based it on the original German Touring Car Championship, which was contested by 2.5-litre rear- wheel drive cars.

This championship was replaced in 1996 by the Super Touring series, a battleground for primarily front-wheel drive 2.0-litre sedans.

But series organisers have now come to the conclusion that the sight and sound of V8-propelled cars powersliding around corners will be a more appealing prospect for German fans.

The practice sessions and races will be conducted over just two days, as a further measure to control costs. Each event will consist of two races of at least 90km each.

The 10-round championship will be contested at tracks including the legendary Hockenheimring and Nurburgring circuits.

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