FEB 26th 2015

Mercedes‑AMG joins the GT3 fray, leaves the turbocharger at home...

The ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ (we are talking rear wings here) battle looming at the Geneva Motor Show on 3 March is hotting up up nicely. Mercedes today reveals first pictures of its contender for wing honours.

And the Mercedes-AMG GT3 does have a very large appendage.

mercedes-300sl

We like a big rear wing at GRR of course, but what about the new racer’s front end? If you think you’ve seen that vertical-slatted grille before, you’d be right – think 1952 300SL.

So, deadly serious aero design and a styling nod at the past in an FIA-approved customer racing version of the AMG GT coupé, Mercedes’ long-awaited 911 rival that’s about to hit the showrooms.

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell – but there’s a surprise under the bonnet. While all street AMG GTs are powered by the new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, the racer goes back to the future with – glory be! – the 6.3-litre normally-aspirated lump.

It’s a worked-on version of the engine from Merc’s last GT3 car, the super-successful SLS GT3 (180 race victories and counting). Mercedes-AMG is holding back the tech details for the Swiss show and an on-track debut later this year, but in the SLS the engine put out 552bhp (with an FIA weight of 1350kg). 

Rennwagen Mercedes-AMG GT3 Genf 2014; Racecar Mercedes-AMG GT3 G

Why choose this engine? Merc-AMG say it’s because of its low running costs, excellent reliability and long maintenance intervals. Or is that from the press release about the diesel hatchback? No, it’s what they say about the GT3. It’s a very proven concept in other words. The bonus is it revs to the heavens and sounds glorious.

The V8 is hooked up to a six-speed sequential racing box mounted in a transaxle on the rear axle for best weight distribution, as with the road-going GT. Also shared with that car is the light and rigid aluminium spaceframe construction.

As a road car the GT is smaller and lighter than the SLS, and with the racer getting carbon engine cover, doors, front wings, front and rear aprons, side skirts, boot lid and aerofoil – amongst other weight-saving measures – the new car’s credentials in a range of FIA classes should be impeccable.

Rennwagen Mercedes-AMG GT3 Genf 2014; Racecar Mercedes-AMG GT3 G

Certainly Mercedes-AMG is confident about the car’s chances. ‘We are entering a hard-fought and hotly-contested competitive environment,’ says AMG boss Tobias Moers. ‘You can only give credible proof of your ambition to lead if you’re beating the very best in the game.’

That ‘thud’ you hear is Mercedes-AMG throwing down the GT3 gauntlet. Are Porsche et al shaking in their boots? Not sure, but there should be some cracking racing on the way!

No word yet on prices, just that first customer teams will be taking delivery at the end of 2015. No word either on what we might expect of a road-going GT3 edition. Complete with huge rear wing please. Now that would really put the cat among the GT3 pigeons.

There are plenty of those too as the Geneva Show is about to prove. Has there ever been an international motor show with as many new racing and track-only cars as this? Unlikely, we feel.

It all goes to show that there’s still mileage in the old ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ adage. And also that the design and technology links between road and racing cars are closer than ever. Good news, eh?

Rennwagen Mercedes-AMG GT3 Genf 2014; Racecar Mercedes-AMG GT3 G

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