On the hunt for 1997 Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR #0006

In May 2006, the Porsche Owners Club held an event at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA.  While I’m sure the Porsches were fun, there were two cars in the corner of one garage that caught my eye.  One was a Pagani Zonda and another was a 1997 Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR.

What does it take to compete with a Zonda?  I knew the CLK-GTR it was special at the time (V-12 engine!) and took the photos below, but didn’t quite realize how rare it was.  Apparently it is only one of seven made and one of four made for the 1997 racing season.  Aside from that, it is apparently the only one in private hands.

Race history for chassis 0006 can be found here.

The car looks like it was a no sale at the Pebble Beach Gooding auction in 2005 with an estimate of $1.2m-$1.5m.  Link here with a little more info.

It may have run up the hill at Goodwood in 2012 and 2014 in 1998 livery as described in this post.

Without looking to intrude on the current owner, does anyone know where the car lives today?

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Before and After at Sonoma – Laying Down Rubber

20160916-20160916-076a4690 In looking back through a few shots at Sonoma, I happened upon two different photos of the same car in the same corner (Turn 9).  One was taken on the first lap of practice on Friday and one during the second race on Sunday.

Friday welcomes drivers to a clean track.  Sunday bears the scars of a weekend full of racing with multiple cars across multiple classes and multiple races.

Friday shows very clean yellow and blue curbing but Sunday shows a heavy layer of tire rubber – evidence of many cars bouncing over the curbs in search of the fast route through the quick right-left combination.20160918-20160918-076a8173

The Sonoma Grand Prix weekend hosted IndyCar, Pirelli World Challenge (two classes), and an open wheel support series.

What’s the fastest way around Turn 9?  Apparently, it is to use the curbing liberally.  Our tour guide for this set is Ryan Eversley in the Realtime Acura.  The Acura TLX program was winding down in favor of the brand new and highly anticipated NSX GT3 car for 2017, but Eversely (and team-mate for the weekend Peter Kox) was still hustling.


2016 Sonoma PwC Paddock – Wright Racing 959 and 911 Race car

Walking through the paddock can provide interesting visual comparisons if you keep a keen watch for such opportunities.  A black road going Porsche 959 resided with the Wright Racing team for the weekend in the Pirelli World Challenge paddock.20160918-20160918-076a8431 20160918-20160918-076a8457

Getting a chance to have a close look at a 959 is always a treat but after the second race on Sunday, the team parked the black 959 against the fence alongside one of the team’s team’s 911 race cars.  The chance to visually line up the 1980s supercar with its modern day racing brother was not to be missed.

Parente and Cindric Battle


K-PAX Racing joined together with Flying Lizard Racing to run three McLarens in the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season.  Alvaro Parente in the yellow car, Austin Cindric in the blue car, and Colin Thompson in the orange car make a vibrant easter basket of colorful entries.

In the Sonoma round, Parente and Cindric showed very similar pace and ran closely together.  In the Sunday race, they ran nose-to-tail for most of the event.  This shot is taken at the quick right/left sequence of Turn 9 and also shows damage on the front of Parente’s car.

A 1/500 shutter speed with aperature at f/8 and 420mm was enough to freeze the yellow McLaren.  It was enough to freeze the action, but a touch too fast to produce enough blur of the yellow logos on the tires to show movement.

The Southwest Star 4Q 2016

Hot off the virtual presses – check out the 4Q 2016 issue of The Southwest Star:

And More!!

Colin Thompson’s McLaren

20160916-20160916-076a4874Colin Thompson’s orange and black McLaren provides a sharp contrast against the white retaining wall and red Coca-Cola signage.  Thompson was on the gas and accelerating out of Turn 9 in this shot.  The objective was to get a good panning shot by moving the lens with the car to make the car sharp but everything else slightly blurry to show motion.

The shutter speed of 1/250 was just fast enough to show some blur without freezing the scene completely.  A faster speed would have not shown much blur.  A slower speed may have shown more blur and been more dramatic, but the objective of the shot at the time was to show just enough blur – not so much to throw the background into an indistinguishable splash of color.  Slower shutter speeds can produce more artistic shots, but are more difficult to get and be less useful in conjunction with a story that merely wants to show a good shot of the car rather than a shot that draws attention to the dramatic flair of the photo instead of the car.

Camera Settings – 1/250, f/8, ISO 100, 165mm.

Fong on the Move

20160916-20160916-076a4969The Absolute Racing Bentley of Adderly Fong is a right-hand drive machine, the only such marque in the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge field.  A prime spot inside Turn 11 looking back towards pit lane provided a great setting for a panning shot at Fong accelerated out of the turn and headed towards the start/finish line.

While the shutter speed is enough to show motion and blur, the horizontal silver fencing between pit lane and the race track creates an interesting backdrop as the gray Bentley whistles by.

Yes, ideally the shot would have included the entire car but the clarity of the Bentley and the backdrop makes it an interesting photo regardless.

Camera Settings – 1/200, f/8, ISO 100, 280mm.

Risi Ferrari first and last laps of 2016

20160128-28091349215Risi Competizione had quite a year with their new Ferrari 488 GTLM in IMSA competition.  The car was so late in delivery that the team got a quick shakedown at Fiorano in Italy before being shipped to Miami and delivered directly to Daytona.

This photo is the car’s very first lap to be turned on US soil.  The team worked feverishly to ensure it would be ready for practice.

Risi ran an incredible race.  No crew pit penalties and only one driver penalty due to avoidable contact meant little contact with race officials.  Contact inflicted by one of the Ford GT cars damaged the Ferrari’s rear diffuser.  Repairs cost the team four laps and the team ultimately ended up running the last 6 hours without a rear diffuser altogether.  The class was incredibly competitive and tight and the team’s 6th place in class was a sparse reward for a very strong debut.

Fast forward to Road Atlanta for the last race of the season at the Petit LeMans.   Risi dominated the class and took a very popular win.  This photo is taken as the car entered pit lane and made the turn into victory lane.

20161001-20161001-076a4967The two photos provide bookends to quite a busy season for Risi.  Congrats and best of luck in 2017!


IMSA Radio Post-Race

img_20161001_212623580_hdrThe IMSA Radio (and Radio Le Mans) team is the world-wide voice of sportscar racing.  With a team of broadcasters led by the dulcet tones of John Hindaugh, they bring the passion and speak to the sportscar fan.  Where other broadcasters might be forced to presume little audience knowledge or speak to surface issues like celebrity participation, the IMSA Radio team is talking about lap counts, fuel stints, historical precedent and lap times.

While they make it look easy, clearly there are years of craft and passion that have built to the current day and material work behind the scenes.  They take pride in the quality of the broadcast and aren’t just looking to “be on the radio” or “announce sports.”  They have done the difficult, invested their own resources, struggled through awful travel logistics, rented the terrible hire car, stayed in the dreadful hotel, and worked with the skeptical sponsors – all because they love racing and want to make it work.  Motor racing is in the blood and it runs deep.

To be fair, the sport owes a debt of gratitude to the team.  They have brought fans together, brought new fans to the sport, given sponsors an engaged platform and injected life into the sport.  They unabashedly acknowledge that calling the races is the fun part – the work happens before and after the race.  The members of the team spent a ridiculous amount of time in hotels and on airplanes and often have different teams covering different races at the same time on different parts of the globe.  They operate in widely varied conditions and settings, bringing a minimum of their own equipment along to each race.

This photo was taken of John Hindaugh and Jeremy Shaw just after the conclusion of the Petit Le Mans.  John and Jeremy were sorting through the finishing order, the stories that arose during the race, and a bit of question with the rules for the Magnus Audi at the finish.  Presumably, the pictures on the screens are a commercial from the television coverage.  Thanks much to John and Jeremy, pit reporters Jim Roller and Shea Adam, and Eve Hewitt who put it all together to make the broadcast happen.  Thanks much to them and all the other IMSA Radio and Radio LeMans team who provide more quality content at more races than all but the most dedicated sportscar fans can consume.

Camera Settings – cell phone photo

Mazda Welcome Race Fans

img_20160929_120539322While a sportscar paddock in the United States is generally far friendlier and more accessible than almost any other form of top-tier motorsport, there are some teams and drivers that do more.  Mazda not only supports racing through many forms of sportscar, open wheel and prototype racing, it also affirmatively takes measures to bring fans close to the action.  Mazda and all of its drivers are active and transparent on social media and in press releases.  Its staff is easy to find and always happy to talk.

A very tangible example is this simple sign perched at the edge of the Mazda paddock area.  Mazda is the only team anywhere in the paddock that forms a walkway into the garage between the cars.  Yes, there are belt barriers to give the crew space to do their work, but you can get very close without being a VIP or getting a special invite.

It is a small, but very tangible effort that further increases the engagement between the fans and the sport – and certainly must leave a favorable fan impression of Mazda in the process.  Well done.

Camera Settings – cell phone photo