Thoroughbred racing technology, spectacular racecar design
Automotive fascination combined with spectacular racing car design – the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. This racing version of the gullwing model was designed as a customer sports car for competing in race series according to the near-series FIA GT3 rulebook. Outstanding driving dynamics are ensured by uncompromising lightweight construction and specific modifications to the suspension, brakes and aerodynamics.
The purist design of the SLS AMG, with its long bonnet, flat greenhouse positioned well to the rear and short rear end, is enhanced even further by the GT3 variant. The modifications to the body give the gullwing an even more spectacular appearance. The aim is a further improvement in aerodynamic performance.
At the front the GT3 racing car has a new front apron with larger air intakes: the wide aperture below the characteristic radiator grille with a large Mercedes star and a wing-shaped transverse fin supplies the engine oil cooler and brake discs with cooling air.
The two air intakes below the vertically arranged bi-xenon headlamps have the same function. Downforce at the front axle is provided by four externally mounted “flics” and the carbon-fibre front splitter: this blends into the smooth underbody cladding which ends with the rear diffuser.
The bonnet has a central aperture to dissipate the engine heat. The hot air is vented in the wheel arches from side vents in the front wings. Particularly lightweight polycarbonate glazing is used all-round.
The front and rear wheel arches are flared to make space for the large racing tyres. With a width of 1990 millimetres, the body of the GT3 is a good 50 milli-metres wider than that of the standard SLS AMG. The new side skirts have apertures for cooling the rear brakes. The smooth underbody is visible at the lower edges of the side skirts.
The standardised filler pipe for the fast-refuel system is accommodated in the B-pillar. The 120-litre fuel tank is centrally located behind the driver.
Wide rear apron of carbon-fibre
Viewed from the rear, the SLS AMG GT3 impresses with its sheer width. The boot lid is surmounted by a wide carbon-fibre rear aerofoil, which has multiple adjustments and allows a perfect setup for the type of racetrack concerned. The new rear apron features two apertures designed to vent the rear wheel arches.
The carbon-fibre rear diffuser is another eye-catching feature: as an extension to the smooth underbody, it gradually rises in the rear axle area and generates a downforce thanks to its shape. The overall aerodynamic concept of the SLS AMG GT3 was refined and finalised in extensive wind tunnel and racetrack tests. All the resulting measures ensure a high level of aerodynamic efficiency, and also guarantee effective cooling of thermally highly stressed components.
The rain light prescribed by the rulebook is integrated into the boot lid – it must remain permanently switched on if the weather conditions are poor.
Near-series AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine
As prescribed by the FIA GT3 rules, the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine is practically identical to that in the standard model. Thanks to its lower weight, the GT3 will considerably better the already outstanding acceleration of the standard model – 3.8 seconds from zero to 100 km/h; depending on the final drive ratio, the top speed will exceed 300 km/h. Typical of an AMG: the thrilling and characteristic eight-cylinder sound.
The peak output of the AMG 6.3-litre V8 front-mid-engine with dry-sump lubrication is determined by the FIA according tothe “Balance of Performance”. This is to ensure equal chances for all the participating racing cars. Classification, which also determines the kerb weight of the vehicle and other factors, will take place in spring 2011.
The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine also has a dry sump lubrication system in the racing model. Using vacuum and pressure pumps, as well as an external oil tank, makes it possible to dispense with a conventional sump. This technology ensures reliable engine lubrication even under the high lateral acceleration forces encountered on the racetrack. Dry sump lubrication also allows a low installed position for the V8 engine – one of the key technological highlights of the SLS AMG.
Installing the eight-cylinder as low as possible, as a front-mid-engine behind the front axle, and combining it with a transmission located at the rear axle, leads
to a favourable weight distribution. The transaxle arrangement also optimises handling and traction.
Six-speed racing transmission with sequential gear-changes
Unlike in the standard model, power in the SLS AMG GT3 is transferred by a six-speed racing transmission with sequential gear-changes. Thanks to its compact construction, this race-tested transmission has advantages in terms of packaging – after all, the GT3 version has a smaller ground clearance than the standard model.
The driver shifts the gears using two shift paddles on the steering wheel. The transmission is mounted directly on the rear axle, and connected to the V8 engine via a flexurally and torsionally rigid torque tube. This has decisive advantages with respect to handling dynamics, as this sophisticated solution enables the entire powertrain to be configured with far less free play.
In conjunction with the traction control sysem, a multi-disc locking differential integrated into the transmission ensures outstanding acceleration. A drive shaft rotates at the engine speed within this torque tube. As in the standard model, and also the Mercedes-Benz C-Class DTM racing cars, the shaft is made from carbon-fibre (CFRP).
Double wishbone axles of forged aluminium
The vehicle concept of the SLS AMG is predestined for top-class racetrack performance, with a long wheelbase, a low centre of gravity and a wide track. Its strengths include precise over/understeer characteristics, first-class agility, low inertia during fast changes of direction and high physical limits when cornering.
Very few modifications were required for perfect racetrack performance: the lowered, lightweight aluminium suspension with double wishbones all-round has the ideal kinematics. Multiple adjustments allow the best possible adaptation to the relevant racetrack characteristics and prevailing weather conditions. Not only the spring and damper setups, but also the track width and camber, the suspension height and the stabilisers at the front and rear axles can be adjusted.
Steel motorsports braking system with racing ABS
The rack-and-pinion steering with a more direct ratio and servo assistance supports the agile handling. Behind the 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with central locking, effective, fade-resistant deceleration is ensured by a steel motorsports braking system.
The SLS AMG GT3 has precisely calculated cooling ducts: apertures in the front apron and ahead of the rear wheels supply the brake discs with a cooling airflow. All four brake discs are ventilated, grooved and perforated. Six-piston fixed callipers at the front and four-piston fixed callipers at the rear provide very generous brake lining surfaces. An anti-lock braking system specially configured for the racetrack is standard equipment.
The size 12 x 18-inch (front) and 13 x 18-inch (rear) AMG light-alloy wheels with central locking are shod with racing tyres. Depending on the conditions, untreaded slicks, intermediates or rain tyres are used. The classic multi-spoke design assists ventilation of the braking system. Rapid pitstops and wheel-changes are assured by the pneumatic jacking system integrated into the underbody: four pneumatic jacks lift the GT3 racing car by around 190 millimetres to allow very rapid tyre-changes by the pit crew.
Functional racing car atmosphere, exemplary safety level
The interior of the SLS AMG GT3 has a distinctively functional racing atmosphere. As in the standard gullwing model, the powerfully arching wing section of the dashboard gives an impression of width. Strikingly integrated into the dashboard, the air vents galvanised in “Silver Shadow” have adjustable, cruciform nozzles reminiscent of an aircraft’s jet engines.
In a set-up similar to that of the Mercedes-Benz DTM vehicles, the seat shell is located in a high-strength carbon-fibre (CFRP) safety cell. Thanks to its special form, the safety cell, which is bolted to the rollover cage and the aluminium spaceframe, offers far greater protection for the driver’s shoulders, hips and legs.
The seat shell is individually foam-padded, features the HANS (Head and Neck Support) system, and is equipped with a six-point seat belt, thus maximising occupant safety. Additional safety is provided by the steel rollover cage, which also gives further reinforcement to the aluminium spaceframe. In conjunction with the 120-litre CFRP safety tank with inner bladder positioned on the rear axle, and the optimised fire extinguisher system, the SLS AMG GT3 provides an exemplary level of safety that is unmatched by any other current GT3 vehicle.
The central display is ideally positioned within the driver’s field of vision and provides all the relevant information such as track speed, engine rpm, operating temperatures, lap times and gear selection. The racing steering wheel with shift paddles for gear changes allows perfect control of the vehicle, and its quick-release mechanism makes access and egress much easier.
The buttons on the steering wheel boss enable the driver to activate additional functions such as the two-way radio, headlamp flasher or drinking function. Additional controls are located on the centre console. Here the driver can start the AMG V8 engine and adjust the traction control, as well as engage reverse gear or – if the worst comes to the worst – activate the integrated fire extinguisher system. Brake balance adjustment is also possible.
Testing program with Bernd Schneider started in June 2010
Development of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 is proceeding on schedule; the testing program began on the Lausitz Eurospeedway in June 2010. Bernd Schneider (46) – who has been a Mercedes-Benz works driver for many years and is also an AMG brand ambassador – and Thomas Jäger (33) were brought on board as test drivers. With five DTM titles, one ITC championship and one FIA GT championship to his name, Bernd Schneider is one of the most successful German racing drivers.
Thomas Jäger is the reigning Porsche Carrera Cup (Germany) champion, and drove in the DTM for Mercedes-Benz between 2000 and 2003. This season he is lining up in the ADAC GT-Masters (Germany).
For Bernd Schneider, who will be doing the bulk of the test driving, developing a basic setup is a top priority. “The SLS AMG has excellent genes for being successful in motor racing. Even on my first fast laps at the Lausitz Eurospeedway, it was obvious that the GT3 version of the gullwing model has just what it takes to be a hit on the racetrack.
The combination of optimum weight distribution, a low centre of gravity, a powerful AMG V8 engine and efficient aerodynamics already indicates that the SLS AMG GT3 will be very competitive.”
First competitive action in the VLN race on the Nürburgring Nordschleife
As well as being tried out at the Lausitz Eurospeedway and the Sachsenring circuit, the SLS AMG GT3 is also being tested on the Nürburgring Nordschleife (North Loop) – under realistic racing conditions. On top of the pure testing and tuning drives, the gullwing model is also racing in the 2010 VLN endurance championship.
The extensive development and testing program focuses on various suspension settings, engine mappings, tyre mixes and aerodynamics configurations. In addition to this, the complete package has to prove its durability and serviceability. At the same time, the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine and the six-speed racing transmission with sequential gearshift are being run on the test stations at HWA AG. Plus the entire vehicle is being tested on a driving-dynamics test station.
Teams can count on service and replacement parts
Mercedes-AMG and HWA will also be assisting the teams with service and replacement parts within Europe. The concept for the 2011 European motorsport season envisages offering comprehensive support in the three key championships and the major 24-hour races involving the SLS AMG GT3. A 24-hour replacement-part service and a technical hotline will be available for all other races and test drives.
Orders for the SLS AMG GT3 placed directly with Mercedes-AMG
Interested teams can order the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 directly from Mercedes-AMG GmbH. The sales price is € 334,000 (net)/€ 397,460 (incl. 19% VAT). The vehicle is only available with left-hand drive. Deliveries commence in February 2011, following homologation by the FIA in accordance with the GT3 regulations. For interested customers, the AMG Driving Academy offers special SLS AMG GT3 driver training.
Spectacular customer racing car
The gullwing model for the racetrack
Hockenheim – In spring 2011 a new and exciting racing car is due to capture the limelight: the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Developed to comply with the GT3 specifications of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), the SLS AMG GT3 is designed as a racing sports 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 favourable cost structure, they are enjoying increasing worldwide popularity.
The development and test programme for the SLS AMG GT3 is going according to plan. Bernd Schneider, a Mercedes-Benz works driver for many years, and record-holding DTM champion, is carrying out the majority of the test drives which commenced in June. The gullwing for the racetrack will be ready for delivery in time for the start of the coming motorsport season in February 2011. The price of the SLS AMG GT3 is EUR 334,000 (excl. VAT)/EUR 397,460 (incl. 19 % VAT).
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug: “The Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 will start a new era in Mercedes-Benz customer motorsports. This car is an exciting and spectacular sporting tool for committed private teams and talented private drivers. Together with our well-proven sports and touring car partner HWA, AMG will establish a customer motorsports department, and ensure the usual high level of Mercedes service for its motorsports customers.”
“I am very gratified,” Norbert Haug continued, “that the demand for this new and unique racing sports car is so lively – we are receiving far more enquiries and orders than we can initially cope with. But fear not, the production graph will gradually rise more and more steeply so that all customers seriously interested in purchasing the SLS AMG GT3 will be catered for.”
The new SLS AMG GT3 is an emphatic continuation of AMG’s commitment to motorsport. AMG has been a pioneer in the motorsport world ever since its foundation in 1967. Ola Källenius, Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “With the SLS AMG GT3, AMG is once again showing its vast experience gained in over 40 years of motorsport, and its high expertise when it comes to developing unique, high-performance vehicles.”
The new racing version of the SLS AMG is developed and produced by AMG in close cooperation with HWA AG. HWA is responsible for the AMG-Mercedes DTM racing team on behalf of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. The HWA team is one of the most successful in international motorsport, as witness nine driver championships in the DTM and ITC, as well as two championship titles in the FIA GT Championships. No other brand has won as many DTM races and DTM titles as AMG-Mercedes.
Interested racing teams can enter the new SLS AMG GT3 in all race series under the FIA GT3 regulations, for example the FIA GT3 European Championship, the ADAC GT-Masters and the endurance championship organised by the VLN (Association of Nürburgring Endurance Cup Organisers, with 10 motorsport clubs) as well as the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring or Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium).
Scheduled development of the racing version
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3: test drives
with customer teams to take place at the next VLN races on 16 and 30 October 2010 at the Nürburgring
Affalterbach – The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 will once again be lining up on the starting grid at the next two races of the VLN Nürburgring endurance championship. The four-hour races on 16 and 30 October 2010 will prove helpful with clocking up additional test miles as well as the scheduled further development of the gullwing model.At the first race in which it took part on 25 September 2010, the SLS AMG GT3 was able to put its potential to the test. Despite an accident in the first lap and a necessary break for repairs, the gullwing was still easily able to hold its own among the field of GT3 vehicles.
In order to be able to offer interested private teams the optimum vehicle for the 2011 racing season, the next two VLN races on 16 and 30 October 2010 will be completed as test drives with two customer teams. The private teams from Mamerow Racing and Black Falcon will each line up on the starting grid with an SLS AMG GT3. Both teams plan to use the 2011 gullwing in the next VLN season. Bernd Schneider (46) will be sharing a gullwing with Christian Mamerow (25), while the second vehicle will be driven by Thomas Jäger (33) and Christopher Haase (23). Both teams will also receive support for any technical issues which may arise whilst on the race track from the HWA team.
Deliveries to commence from February 2011 following FIA homologation
The sales price is 334,000 euros (excl. VAT)/397,460 euros (incl. 19% VAT).
Deliveries will commence from February 2011, following homologation by the FIA in accordance with the GT3 regulations
First place for Thomas Jäger and Christopher Haase in the 9th VLN race
Victory for the SLS AMG GT3 on the Nürburgring North Loop
Nürburgring – At the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 raced by the private team Black Falcon, Thomas Jäger (33) and Christopher Haase (23) were victorious in the ninth race of the VLN long-distance championship on Saturday at the Nürburgring. Bernd Schneider (46) and Christian Mamerow (25), having started from pole position in a gull-wing model fielded by Mamerow-Racing, were forced to drop out on the fifth lap after a collision while lying second. The 4-hour race was the second test outing for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.
Having started from seventh place on the grid, Thomas Jäger succeeded in working his way up to fourth place on the first lap in the SLS AMG GT3 with start number 738 . In the course of the race, the gull-wing racer was able to move up through the field thanks to a steady series of excellent lap times, taking over the lead for the first time on the tenth out of 20 laps. On the 13th circuit, Christopher Haase set the fastest lap time of the race in 9:24.565 minutes.
The sister car with start number 739 began the race in pole position, Christian Mamerow having posted the fastest time in qualifying. As starting driver, he dropped back into second place at the beginning of the second lap . On lap five, the SLS AMG GT3 collided with the leading Audi R8 LMS piloted by Frank Stippler/Marc Basseng. The wheel suspension on the gull wing was damaged by the resulting contact with the crash barrier . Following an inspection in the pits, the team decided to withdraw the vehicle from the race for safety reasons .
The SLS AMG GT3, which was developed in accordance with the GT3 regulations of the world governing body, FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), again competed in prototype class E1-XP. On the vehicle’s second outing in a VLN race, the focus was once again on methodical further development work as well as on collecting valuable additional test kilometres.
The two SLS AMG GT3s were raced by the private teams Black Falcon and Mamerow-Racing, which are experienced on the North Loop, with support from the AMG team. Both customer teams will be racing the gull wing in the next VLN season in 2011 (Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenmeisterschaft Nürburgring, with 10 motor sport clubs).
Thomas Jäger: “We’re all delighted with the first victory of the SLS AMG GT3 on its second outing here on the North Loop. Despite difficult weather conditions, we had a problem-free race. The gull wing is not only fast, but it also impresses with its excellent stability. Today, we again collected valuable knowledge to assist our further development work in the test programme.”
Bernd Schneider: “Even though I didn’t get to drive today because of the early accident, we’re all highly satisfied with how the overall racing weekend has gone. The SLS AMG GT3 was able to demonstrate its performance credentials both in qualifying and during the race.”
With five titles in the DTM as well as one each in the ITC and FIA GT championships, Bernd Schneider, 46, is one of the most successful German race drivers. Thomas Jäger, 33, was a DTM driver for Mercedes-Benz from 2000 to 2003. Last year, he won the championship title in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. In the current season, he raced in the ADAC GT Masters (Germany). Like Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jäger is a member of the AMG Driving Academy’s team of instructors.
Racing as part of the development and testing programme
The next race outing for the SLS AMG GT3 will be in the finale of the VLN series on 30 October 2010. Mamerow-Racing and Black Falcon will continue their further development work with the driver pairings of Schneider/Mamerow and Jäger/Haase. Three SLS AMG GT3s will be at the start for the next-but-one race, the Dubai 24 Hours (UAE) on 13 to 15 January 2011. The first outing in a long-distance race is likewise a fixed part of the development programme with the focus on customer-oriented development.
Cooperation between AMG and HWA AG
The racing version of the SLS AMG is developed and produced by AMG in close cooperation with HWA AG. The HWA team is one of the most successful in international motor sport: nine driver’s titles in the DTM and ITC as well as two FIA GT championships are clear proof of that. No other make has won a similar number of DTM races and DTM titles to the AMG Mercedes vehicles.
Interested racing teams can use the new SLS AMG GT3 in all race series under the FIA GT3 regulations, such as in the FIA GT3 European Championship, the ADAC GT Masters, the VLN long-distance championship as well as in the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring or in Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium).
Delivery from February 2011 after FIA homologation
Following homologation by the FIA, the governing body of world motor sport, the SLS AMG GT3 will be available for delivery from February 2011; the sales price will be 334,000 euros (net)/397,460 euros (incl. 19% VAT).