While the wait for the Mercedes SLS AMG roadster version continues on, Mercedes is making the wait a little more bearable by surprising us with Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 version. The sports car will compete in the 2011 racing season.
The body of the 2011 SLS AMG GT3 is the most significant difference from the road car starting with the aggressive front fascia and splitter to the massive rear spoiler. The hood of the race model is also very different from the normal SLS AMG with a large center cooling vent that helps to move air to cool the engine and the braking system. Along the side of the car, vents have been added to cool the rear brakes without compromising aerodynamics and all of these improvements to the overall cooling effort of the car makes it ideal for long road races.
As defined in the FIA GT3 regulations, the AMG 6.3 liter V8 engine is virtually identical to that of the series production vehicle. Thanks to its low weight, the acceleration figures for the GT3 – 3.7 seconds for the sprint from 0 to 60 mph – are considerably below the already excellent figures for the series production vehicle. Depending on gear ratio, the top speed is more than 186 mph.
In contrast to the series production vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 is equipped with a six-speed racing transmission with sequential shift. AMG, the high-performance division of Mercedes, has called on the services of the German race team HWA, which has notched up nine driver championships in DTM, the German touring car championship, as well as two FIA GT championships. HWA has developed a sequential six-speed racing transmission complete with flappy paddle-shift controls and a locking differential to channel the power of the 6.3-litre V8 engine to the rear wheels. The double wishbone suspension has been complemented by adjustable racing springs and dampers, with the ride height, track width and wheel camber adjustable to suit the driver’s tastes or the demands of grand prix circuits.
Mercedes promises that the model will be delivered on time for the upcoming racing season, which is scheduled to debut in February next year. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 Gullwing retails for a price of €334,000/$430,000 (EUR397,460/$519,000 with VAT included) and is only available with left-hand drive.