In contrast to Daimler-Benz AG, which raced the Mercedes-Benz SLC in the World Rally Championship, AMG built a racing coupe for circuit competition. Hans Werner Aufrecht sought to triumph over Jaguar and Alpina-BMW in the European Touring Car Championship with the SLC. According to the Group 2 regulations, the coupe could slim down to 1225 kilograms – in its original guise, a standard 450 SLC tipped the scales at around 1690 kilograms. AMG succeeded in upping the output of the 4520 cc V8 from the previous 160 kW/217 hp to 276 kW/375 hp; at the same time, the rated engine speed was increased from a modest 5000 to 6550 rpm. The three-speed automatic transmission basically remained unchanged, the five-speed manual transmission that would have been the preferred option had not been homologated. Work on the AMG racing coupï¿½ was completed just before the first race of the 1978 season of the European Touring Car Championship in Monza, Italy. Notwithstanding this, the AMG drivers Hans Heyer and Clemens Schickentanz immediately secured a highly respectable fifth place on the grid, despite there still being plenty of room for improvement as far as both the brakes and the power transmission were concerned. During the four-hour race, the AMG team even managed to move up the field to third, a feat which it then repeated in the race on the Salzburgring in Austria.
Finally, in 1980, the 450 SLC AMG came in second in the opening race of the season in Monza again. But it was in the car’s very last European Touring Car Championship race on the Nurburgring circuit that the driver team of Schickentanz/Denzel finally scored the victory that Hans Werner Aufrecht had yearned so long for.