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Mercedes-AMG SLS GT3: AMG prepares the Gullwing for racing

By Rigval on 27 Mar 2010

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Looks like there will be another Mad Mercedes is on the way. But only for GT racing. Coinciding with the official market launch of the road going AMG SLS on 27 March 2010 Mercedes-AMG has showcased the SLS AMG GT3 for FIA GT3 Racing teams to consider. The SLS AMG GT3 is designed as a racing car for customers competing in sprints and long-distance races. These race series for near-series GT cars are noted for their very varied participants and great excitement. Not least because of their comparatively favorable cost structure, they are enjoying increasing worldwide popularity. Oh yes, favorable for those racing Aston Martins, Maseratis and Ferraris in those GT races most popular in the United States and in Europe. How favorable it is for any small time South East Asian motor racing team is questionable but that’s what they say in the write-up.

The SLS AMG GT3 is developed and produced by AMG in cooperation with HWA AG. HWA is 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, winning nine driver championships in the DTM and ITC, as well as two championship titles in the FIA GT Championships.

The new SLS AMG GT3 is as per the road going version but with a ridiculous GT wing (which is so loved many Nissan GTR owners that we seem to see parked along major performance tuning hubs around town). The main focus when modifying the body of the SLS was on aerodynamic performance. There is a new front apron with a splitter, a bonnet with its central cooling air vent and the wider front and rear wings. There is also the side wheel arch air vents, the sideskirts with cooling ducts for the rear brakes, the smooth underbody with a rear diffuser and the huge adjustable rear wing as stated earlier. All these features ensure a low drag coefficient and maximum downforce while guaranteeing effective cooling of all highly stressed components. The C-pillars accommodate the standardized filler pipes for the fast-refuel system.

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 road going version. The car is rumored to have around 600bhp (up from 571bhp) from a 6.3liter V8, and 130kgs (stock was 1620kg) lighter from the road version, the FIA will determine the maximum output of the front-mid engine dry sumped 6.3-litre V8 on the "Balance of Performance" principle. This is intended to ensure that all the racing cars taking part have an equal chance. The classification process, during which the kerb weight is also determined, will be completed in 2010.

The wheels are located by a double-wishbone suspension of forged aluminum at the front and rear. Adjustment facilities for the springs and shock absorbers, the suspension height, the stabilizers, 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 ensures outstanding deceleration. There will be a traction control system as well as a brake bias system that is fully adjustable by the driver from inside the cabin.

Sales of these customer cars are expected to commence in autumn 2010, and homologation of the GT3 variant will be completed in time for the 2011 racing season.

The only problem with this car is that like the road version, is the gullwing doors. If it flips on its roof during a race, the gullwings cannot open when it is upside down. Mercedes circumvents this little problem by having a sensor that will trigger a small explosive charge to destroy the hinges so that the doors can be pulled or pushed open by the driver or by rescuers. This is the small price to pay for so much style, racecar or not. Then again, you’d have this same problem with those Lamborghini scissors style doors too. Again, if it is FIA approved to race, it must be safe enough to race and safe enough to use on a daily basis too.

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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