Coinciding with the market launch of the SLS AMG on 27 March 2010, Mercedes-Benz AMG is showcasing the gullwing supercar’s GT3 variant. This racing version of the SLS AMG has been developed to comply with the FIA GT3 regulations enabling customers to compete in sprints and long-distance races.
AMG, the performance brand within Mercedes-Benz, is entering a new class of car with the SLS AMG GT3: the development, production and marketing of sports racing cars intended for customer use.
“Thanks to uncompromising lightweight construction and superior handling dynamics, the SLS AMG provides an outstanding basis for a highly competitive racing car. This exciting GT3 version is our response to strong customer demand for a car designed for these attractive motor sports series. Once again, it demonstrates AMG’s huge experience gained in more than 40 years of motor sports, and its great expertise in the development of unique high-performance cars,” says Volker Mornhinweg, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
This new racing version of the SLS AMG is developed and produced by AMG in close cooperation with HWA AG, who are responsible for the DTM racing team on behalf of Mercedes-Benz Motorsports. The HWA team is one of the most successful in international motor sports, having gained 9 driver championships in the DTM and ITC, as well as 2 championship titles in the FIA GT championship.
The SLS AMG GT3 is set to write another chapter in this success story, and harks back to the 300 SL racing sports car of 1952 which first established the “gullwing” legend. Its historic victory in the “Carrera Panamericana” long-distance race also made Mercedes-Benz a household name in North and Central America, and demonstrated the know-how and expertise of the Stuttgart-based automobile company.
The transformation from road car to racing car
The main focus when modifying the body of this gullwing model was on aerodynamic performance – as is seen not only in the new front apron with a splitter, the bonnet with its central cooling air vent and the wider front and rear wings, but also in the the side wheel arch air vents, the sideskirts with cooling ducts for the rear brakes, the smooth underbody with a rear diffuser and the adjustable rear aerofoil.
All these features ensure a low drag coefficient and maximum downforce – while guaranteeing effective cooling of thermally highly stressed components. The C-pillars accommodate the standardised filler pipes for the fast-refuel system.
The FIA will determine the maximum output of the AMG 6.3-litre V8 front-mid engine with dry sump lubrication on the “Balance of Performance” principle. This is intended to ensure that all the racing cars taking part have an equal chance. This classification process will be completed later in 2010.
Power transmission in the GT3 variant is by a sequential six-speed racing transmission with steering wheel shift paddles and an integrated multi-disc locking differential. As in the standard SLS AMG, the transmission is located at the rear axle: the engine and transmission are connected by a torque tube within which a carbon-fibre shaft rotates at the engine speed, as in the roadgoing version.
The wheels are located by a double-wishbone suspension of forged aluminium at the front and rear. Adjustment facilities for the springs and shock absorbers, the suspension height, the stabilisers, the track width and camber allow an individual setup for the racetrack.
Rack-and-pinion steering with a more direct ratio and speed-sensitive servo assistance make for extremely agile handling. Behind the central-locking AMG light-alloy wheels, a composite steel racing braking system with racing ABS is said to ensure outstanding deceleration.
Racing Car interior
The interior of the SLS AMG GT3 is dominated by a functional racing car atmosphere: the steel rollover cage not only ensures the driver’s safety, but also adds additional reinforcement to the aluminium spaceframe. Another eye-catching feature is the racing bucket seat with a six-point seat belt and HANS system (Head and Neck Support).
The central display is perfectly positioned in the driver’s field of vision, and shows all the relevant information such as speed, engine rpm, operating temperatures, lap times and the selected gear. The open-top racing steering wheel with gearshift paddles makes perfect vehicle control possible.
Additional controls are located on the centre console. This is where the driver can not only start the AMG V8 engine or adjust the traction control, but also select reverse gear or – if the worst comes to the worst – activate the integrated fire extinguisher system.
The adjustment control for the brake balance is located on the torque tube tunnel.
Sales of these customer cars are expected to commence in autumn 2010, and homologation of the GT3 variant should be completed in time for the 2011 racing season.