The racing version of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, dubbed the SLS AMG GT3, isn’t significantly different from the gullwing coupe you can buy from your local dealer.
Per FIA regulations, GT3-spec race cars can’t be rebuilt from the ground up of lighter materials, and in some cases engine output is reduced from production car equivalents to level the playing field.
Ensuring that the racing variant of the SLS AMG gains as much grip in corners as possible, aerodynamics are enhanced with a rear wing, front splitter, side skirts and other components to minimize lift at speed.
Before any of that can happen, however, the car is stripped to its barest elements. A full roll cage is welded into place, making the car more rigid and adding an element of safety for the driver. Bracing is often used to stiffen the chassis and improve handling.
Component fit is carefully inspected, and anything that can be reinforced, is, to cope with the demands of the racing environment. Watching this video, which appears to be the first of a new series, you get a sense for why the racing version of the SLS AMG is so much more expensive than the road-going version.
Buying an SLS AMG GT3 for competition will cost in the neighborhood of $430,000, excluding taxes, which is about on par with other cars in this category. Porsche’s 911 GT3 R, for example, starts at $434,000, while its range-topping sibling, the 911 GT3 RSR, starts at $689,580.
As the saying goes, to make a small fortune in racing, it’s best to start with a large one.