Long before Mercedes-Benz and McLaren became rivals, the two car companies collaborated to create a unique masterpiece that is still loved today. That is the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the supercar that will have its 20th birthday in September 2023.

Two decades have passed since the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was first introduced at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show. To commemorate this historic milestone, the McLaren Technology Center (Woking, UK) took place created activities to pay tribute to the famous car model, as well as honor the people who contributed to creating one of the most classic masterpieces in the car industry, most of whom are still attached to McLaren. 

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is known as a unique “super-GT”, born from the partnership in the field of Formula 1 (F1) racing between Mercedes-Benz and McLaren. The engineering teams of the two companies sat down together to find a way to realize a sports car with a generous grand tourer style, but must possess extremely strict technical characteristics. of supercars.

The ‘Project 7’ project was first announced when the British Grand Prix took place at Silverstone racetrack in 1999, confirming that McLaren would cooperate with Mercedes-Benz to bring the Mercedes-Benz SLR Vision concept car – appeared at the previous Detroit Auto Show – becoming a complete car, capable of mass commercial production.

McLaren and Mercedes-Benz collaborated on F1 racing between 1995 and 1999, during which time McLaren won four F1 World Championships: including a Constructors’ Champions title in 1998, with 3 Drivers’ Champions titles in 1998, 1999 and 2008. McLaren’s chassis development experience and carbon fiber technology are promised to coordinate perfectly with Mercedes engine power to recreate the feeling of victory in F1 to owners of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren supercar.

The first ‘Project 7’ prototype was created by a group of former F1 McLaren drivers and professional engineers from the British car company. These people are the core of the complete vehicle development team. Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren also created a lot of excitement as the first car model to be hand-assembled at the then newly opened McLaren Technology Center.

The overall design and design language that defines this supercar are consistent with what once made the Vision SLR concept car attractive. At the time, this was only possible with the most advanced groundbreaking techniques, taking full advantage of McLaren’s expertise around carbon fiber composites that they have accumulated throughout decades of experience. in the F1 playground and also from the McLaren F1 model.

Along with the revolutionary carbon fiber material is a 5.5L turbocharged V8 engine developed by Mercedes-AMG, capable of producing up to 626 horsepower PS and reaching 780 Nm of torque. All of this power is transmitted to the rear axle through a 5-speed automatic transmission, allowing the car to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 334 km/h. The numbers are superior to many supercars of the same era.

The first Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was delivered to customers in the summer of 2004 and more than 2,000 units have been produced across all versions. Additional special editions include the 722 Edition Coupe in 2006 with a total of 150 cars, the SLR Roadster and 722 Edition Roadster also with 150 cars, until the last version is the extremely rare SLR Stirling Moss Edition, only 75 units were produced.

Production of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren ended in December 2009, but the British racing car company has not ended its association with its masterpiece. In 2010, they established the McLaren Special Operations (MSO) division specializing in special projects. This unit quickly introduced the McLaren Edition SLR upgrade package for the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren supercar based on valuable feedback from SLR camera owners and MSO customers.

This McLaren Edition SLR is limited to just 25 units and brings significant changes to the bodywork using a new aerodynamically sculpted front apron – with a large front splitter more, air intake. New side skirts, a larger rear spoiler and a tweaked rear diffuser, along with lighter weight wheels. MSO has also intervened to fine-tune the suspension and power steering.

Next in 2019, another special edition was launched, the SLR by MSO, still demonstrating a comprehensive upgrade based on feedback from car owners. The new aerodynamic package combines improvements to reduce vehicle weight and is accompanied by a series of new luxury details, such as special interior leather upholstery. MSO provides this package in full form or broken down into many individual components for customers to easily choose.

Recently in May 2023, MSO delivered the first SLR HDK to customers. This is a modified SLR McLaren with a High Downforce Kit package, inspired by the 722 GT racing car to improve the car’s aerodynamic efficiency. This is essentially a widebody package, improving the width by 60 mm both front and rear, creating an imposing appearance. The rear has a spoiler similar to the one on the McLaren F1 GTR. Vehicle mass is further reduced, while exhaust volume is increased when the muffler is removed. MSO plans to make only 12 SLR HDKs and all have been ordered.

At this gratitude event, there are 3 special editions including SLR Stirling Moss, SLR by MSO and SLR HDK along with an experimental SLR 722 GT Prototype on display at McLaren Technology Center Avenue. Tour of the McLaren Technology Center of the SLR club – people from all over the world who own Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren – with activities to meet and talk with members of the McLaren team who have attended Participation in this project has added color to the car’s two-decade anniversary, marking a historic chapter in the story of Europe’s leading car manufacturers.


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