Twenty years after the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren’s 2003 launch, McLaren marked the occasion with events at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking. The focus wasn’t just on the vehicle, but also on its creators. Impressively, many original team members remain integral to the car manufacturer. This supercar, notably, was the inaugural vehicle assembled at the MTC.
The MTC Boulevard gleamed with four distinct SLR models: the SLR Stirling Moss, SLR by MSO, SLR HDK, and SLR 722 GT Prototype. Alongside, artifacts illustrated the SLR’s evolution. The SLR Club’s enthusiasts, representing global Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren owners, mingled with the very McLaren talents who shaped the car’s illustrious history.
The union of Mercedes-Benz and McLaren bore this unique super-GT, cementing its position in both companies’ histories. Announced at the 1999 British Grand Prix, the SLR project highlighted the McLaren-Mercedes partnership. Originating as Project 7, its inspiration was the Mercedes-Benz SLR Vision concept, presented earlier that year.
The prototype’s creation was significant. Helmed by former Formula 1 McLaren mechanics, it became the first vehicle handcrafted at the then-new MTC. The car’s design, mirroring Mercedes’ dream, was actualised with cutting-edge engineering and McLaren’s mastery of carbon-fibre composites.
The super-GT’s heart was a 5.5-litre supercharged V8, a product of Mercedes-AMG. Boasting 626 horsepower, its performance was astounding. Clocking 0 to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 335km/h, it matched its contemporaries’ prowess.
Despite its 2009 production halt, McLaren’s commitment persisted. In 2010, McLaren Special Operations (MSO) unveiled the McLaren Edition SLR, setting the stage for future upgrades. The 2019 SLR by MSO and the 2023 SLR High Downforce Kit further championed the spirit of innovation, honouring the alliance of McLaren and Mercedes-Benz.