Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 gets ready for its first full season in the VLN

The SLS AMG GT3 will embark on its first race of the season next Saturday (2 April 2011), when the new VLN season (Nürburgring Endurance Championships) begins.

Six customer teams will be lining up on the North Loop with the racing version of Mercedes’ gull-wing model, including 3 cars from Black Falcon while Mamerow Racing, Heico Motorsport, Horn Motorsport, ROWE RACING and Race & Events GmbH will be at the starting line with one SLS AMG GT3 each.

Besides the performance of Mercedes gull-wing supercar, development has focused strongly on meeting the stringent safety standards of the championship as well as using the SLS AMG GT3 as a test bed to improve the already high standard of Mercedes race cars.

One prominent feature in the interior of the SLS AMG GT3 is the bucket seat, which is positioned within a safety cell of high-strength CFRP (carbon-fibre reinforced plastic) as in Mercedes’ DTM cars. And thanks to its special shape within the safety cell, which is bolted to the rollover cage and the aluminium space-frame, it provides considerably higher protection for the driver’s shoulders, hips and legs together with the HANS system (Head and Neck Support).

Safety cell within the SLS AMG GT3

You may be surprised to hear that the racing GT3 model retains the gull-wing doors of its road going sibling. Like the production SLS AMG, the GT3 version is equipped with four pyrotechnical elements on the hinges of the gull-wing doors. These allow a rapid exit for the driver, or fast access by emergency personnel, should the vehicle be lying on its roof after an accident.

They are activated by the driver, using a switch on the centre console. Should he be incapable of doing this himself, the emergency personnel are able to pull on a ring easily located on the lower edge of the windscreen and marked “Emergency Exit”. The four pyrotechnical elements are then triggered, and release two roof hinges retaining each of the two gull-wing doors.

In addition the SLS AMG GT3 has polycarbonate side windows which can be easily removed by the driver or emergency personnel after an accident. The crash-protected location of the battery next to the centre tunnel, as well as the interior and exterior switches cutting off the power circuit, further demonstrate the efforts made for the greatest possible protection of the SLS AMG GT3’s driver.

VLN races at a glance:

  • 2 April 2011: 58th ADAC Westphalia race
  • 30 April 2011: 36th DMV 4-hour race
  • 14 May 2011: 42nd Adenauer ADAC Circuit Trophy
  • 28 May 2011: 53rd ADAC ACAS H&R Cup
  • 11 June 2011: 51st ADAC Reinoldus endurance race
  • 30 July 2011: 34th RCM DMV Grenzland race
  • 27 August 2011: ADAC Ruhr Trophy six-hour race
  • 24 September 2011: 43rd ADAC Barbarossa Prize
  • 15 October 2011: 35th DMV 250-mile race
  • 29 October 2011: 36th DMV Münsterland Trophy
  • 10 December 2011: VLN annual prizegiving

To find out more about the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, visit:
www.mercedes-amg.com/slsgt3

You can watch the race LIVE on Ustream at 11:00 GMT on Saturday 2nd, by clicking on the following link:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/vln-championship

Or follow the live timing at:
http://www.vln.de

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