It was built for show, but now it's being prepped for go.
Mercedes-Benz tuner RENNtech plans to compete at this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado with a competition-prepped Mercedes GLK 350 Spec.R sport-utility vehiclebuilt originally last year as part of Mercedes-Benz USA's GLK-SEMA Tuner Challengerunning on Nitto tires.
Displayed at Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc.'s booth at last fall's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, the salmon-and-black GLK was judged by visitors to MB-USA's Web site as the best of the four tuner versions on display at the trade show.
To meet the challenges of the Pikes Peak course, which includes 156 hairpin turns on both paved and gravel terrain, the RENNtech team added both power and performance parts to the GLK. Among the changes are custom software upgrades, an electric-assist mild hybrid drive, extensive engine modifications and aerodynamic bodywork, according to Nitto.
It was the bodyworka front splitter, rear diffuser and wing and fender flares to accommodate the 275/40ZR20 (front) and 315/35ZR20 (rear) Nitto NT05 radialsthat caught the viewers' attention. The extreme bodywork additions are deemed necessary to keep the car functioning at competitive speeds in the thin atmosphere at the upper stages of Pikes Peak (altitude 14,110 feet at the summit).
The car is being shown at a number of car shows and dealer events on the NT05 radials, but it likely will run on more aggressive competition tires for the July 19 Pikes Peak event, a Nitto spokesman said, especially considering the upper half of the 12.4-mile course is unpaved.
RENNtech's rally GLK competed against three other performance shops, each of which submitted a different specialty vehicle. Blvd Custom created an ``Urban Whip'' roadster. German performance tuner Brabus submitted a sleek and elegant Widestar concept, and Legendary Motorcar built an extreme sports GLK complete with rails for skateboarding and rollerblading and a ramp for skateboarding and snowboarding.
The models can be viewed at www.mbusa.com/glk, then click on SEMA.