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Mercedes goes racing with new AMG GT3

Race car borrows heavily from track tuned AMG GT street version

Published: March 1, 2015, 4:55 AM
Updated: March 3, 2015, 3:14 PM

AMG GT3 race car

Before the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT barely had a chance to bask in the spotlight of its public debut, Mercedes was unveiling the racing car version that will compete in various racing series around the world. It will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

After being shaken down extensively, the AMG GT3 will begin shipping to customers at the end of 2015. The AMG GT will be sold as a 2016 model, and supplies an already competent race-track package from which to develop the high performance race car.

“We are entering a hard-fought and hotly contested competitive environment with the new Mercedes-AMG GT3,” commented Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “The high technological standard and fair race rules are spurring us on to push to take pole position with our new customer racing car. You can only give credible proof of your ambition to lead if you’re beating the very best in the game.”

The standard Mercedes-Benz AMG GT already provides the ideal platform from which to develop the GT3 racing model, with its low centre of gravity, ideal weight-distribution and wide track. The GT platform excels in precise cornering, lateral acceleration, outstanding traction and low inertia, and first-class agility. It’s a marvel at changing directions fast, and on many of the world’s race tracks, that can be the difference between a podium finish and an also-ran.

Now, stretch out the width a bit, add large air intakes, diffusers to keep the car stable at high speeds, and a huge rear wing to press down on the traction wheels, and you give the GT3 outstanding track potential, evident in the muscular body contours when it’s just sitting around waiting for its turn on the track.

And since lightness of being is one of the keys to track success, the GT3 is composed of a very light but extremely rigid aluminum spaceframe (as is the GT road car), which also offers high protection for cabin occupants. A carbon fibre seat pan furthers the light but tough motif, while a high-tensile steel cage provides protection in those instances where things go askew.

To further reduce weight, the engine cover, doors, front wing, front and rear aprons, sidewalls, side skirts, diffuser, trunk lid and rear wing are all made from carbon-fibre. The double wishbone suspension is also made almost entirely from aluminum for lightness and toughness (and also shared with the street car).

Power is supplied by the high-revving, naturally aspirated AMG 6.3-litre V8 from the previous racing version (the SLS AMG GT3). Privateers will enjoy its long maintenance intervals and reliability, for the cost savings alone. Shifting is handled by a six-speed sequential automatic mounted on the rear axle to further the even weight distribution theme.