Expect to see some serious track-ready sheet metal make an appearance at the Geneva Motor Show next week, including a track-only offering from Aston Martin, and a dual street and track Cayman GT4 from Porsche.
So, how could Mercedes-Benz be left out of that high-performance pack? It can’t…or won’t, it turns out. Look for the Teutonic maker to bring its own track model to Geneva’s PALExpo convention center in the form of the AMG GT3.
“We are entering a hard-fought and hotly competitive environment with the new Mercedes-AMG GT3,” declares Tobias Moers, the performance brand’s chairman. “You can only give credible proof of your ambition to lead if you’re beating the very best in the game.
Like the striking Aston Vulcan, the race version of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 doesn’t abandon styling in the sake of taking the checkered flag. But there will be a number of significant changes to boost handling and performance.
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For one thing, the body has been widened, with the GT3 getting larger air intakes, a new diffuser and a huge rear airfoil.
And though the street GT’s double-wishbone suspension and aluminum chassis carry over, a significant share of the body panels of the GT3 – including the engine cover, doors, rear apron and trunk lid – will migrate to super-light carbon fiber. The race version also gets a carbon fiber pan and high-strength steel integral roll cage to further protect the driver.
One of the most important changes will be found under that carbon fiber cover, where the GT’s stock twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 is being yanked in favor of the 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V-8 previously used in the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3.
(Audi Prologue Avant Concept for Geneva hints at design shift to come. Click Here for more.)
Mercedes’ official announcement didn’t reveal specific performance numbers, but in the SLS track model, that big eight-banger delivered 552 horsepower, slightly less than the street model, due to racing regulations.
The engine will be paired with a six-speed sequential gearbox mounted in a transaxle layout on the rear axle, helping maintain optimum weight balance, Mercedes claims.
Inside, the new AMG GT3 is expected to get the full complement of safety gear, down to the HANS, or head and neck support, brace.
The street car’s steering wheel has been replaced by a quick-release track wheel with fingertip controls to minimize driver reach and distraction. The instrument cluster also is a track-ready reconfigurable display.
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Look for the first AMG GT3 racers to be delivered to customer teams by the end of this year – giving them time to get ready for the 2016 racing season.