Mercedes are pitching a new customer motorsport series based on its recently launched CLA 45 AMG, following on from the success of the SLS AMG GT3 in the FIA GT3 European Championship, FIA GT1 World Championship and ADAC GT Masters.
The CLA 45 AMG Racing Series will be presented at the Frankfurt show as a concept car, to gauge interest and see if demand is there to produce a full grid of cars.
The technical specification, is for the time being flexible but could include permanent all-wheel drive or simply front-wheel drive, depending on the rules agreed for the future race series.
Mercedes AMG wish to offer “a competitive, near-standard racing car with an excellent level of safety, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine” which Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes AMG is confident would be popular with their customer teams.
In its transformation from mild-mannered road car to full-fledged racer the CLA 45 AMG gains a wider track at the front and rear, while ride height, spring rate and damper characteristics are all adjustable, as is the suspension alignment on both front and rear axles.
The 355bhp engine remains the same, but then it’s already beastly in the road car – instead Mercedes-AMG have focused on the design of its bodywork including a new front and rear apron, flared wings and side sill panels. You’ll also notice an adjustable rear wing, that’s made of carbon-fibre as is the front apron, front splitter, and the large cooling apertures for engine and brake cooling.
The air intake in the side sill panels ahead of the rear wheels ensures effective cooling of the rear brakes, which sit inside a set of slick racing tyres mounted on lightweight alloy wheels.
Inside, the soft Alcantara and leather of the road car is replaced by a Recaro racing bucket seat constructed from carbon-fibre. The dashboard remains as standard, complete with analogue instrumentation and the cockpit is framed by a business-like roll cage made from high-strength steel.
The remaining features are pure race car including the integrated fire extinguishing system, racing steering wheel, shift paddles for the gearshifts and preparation for a standard HANS device.
It certainly looks like an interesting formula, but will there be sufficient demand outside Germany? Mercedes clearly think so.