2016 Mercedes-AMG GT3 hits the Nürburgring

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Mercedes-AMG has a new race car based on its stunning GT sports car to replace the hugely-successful SLS AMG GT3, which is being phased out at the end of the 2015 motorsport season. We got our first look at the new GT-based racer, aptly named a “GT3”, at the recent Geneva Motor Show, and now we have a video from YouTube user nordschleife96 that shows it tearing up the Nürburgring.

As its name suggests, the GT3 has been designed to the FIA’s GT3 rules, meaning it will go up against the likes of the Aston Martin Vantage GT12, Audi R8 LMS ultra, Bentley Continental GT3, Dodge Viper GT3-R, Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, Lamborghini Huracán GT3, Porsche 911 GT3 and various other production-based race cars in GT3-spec competition.

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We can see that the designers have implemented a much wider track than the road car as well as a new “Panamericana" grille whose shape is reminiscent of the design used on Mercedes racers of the 1950s, like the legendary 300 SLR. Mercedes-AMG says all modifications made to the standard GT’s body were in the interests of maximum downforce and aerodynamic efficiency. The specially incorporated features also improve cooling.

The body is mostly carbon fiber while other key elements, such as the spaceframe chassis, are made from aluminum. On each side, the wider body compared with the standard version of the GT creates space for the wide track of the double wishbone axles and 18-inch light-alloy wheels with center locks. An air inlet on the left and right shoulders ahead of each rear wheel conducts the necessary cooling air to the transmission at the rear axle, in this case a sequential six-speed unit.

Rather than use the road car’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, the engineers have stuck with the 6.2-liter V-8 of the previous SLS AMG GT3. Mercedes-AMG cites low operating costs, long service intervals, user-friendly technology and, not least, great reliability as key reasons for staying with the previous engine. Connecting the engine with the gearbox is a driveshaft and torque tube, both composed from carbon fiber.

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The Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be offered up to customer teams all around the globe, including here in the U.S. where it will be sold through Mercedes-AMG's Customer Sports division. Pricing will likely start at about $500k, including taxes, which is roughly what you had to pay for the outgoing SLS AMG GT3. A more basic version of the GT3 will eventually form the basis of a one-make racing series Mercedes-AMG is planning.

Note, we can also expect a road-going version of the new race car in the near future, prototypes for which have already been spotted in the wild. This new variant will be separate to the planned Black Series, whose launch is likely several years away still.

 
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