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Geneva show: Mercedes-AMG takes the GT racing

Rule of 3: The GT3 is based on the Mercedes-AMG GT sportscar that is set to arrive in Australia in road-going guise in July.

GT3 version of Mercedes-AMG GT sportscar gets old 6.3-litre V8 engine

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Mercedes-Benz logo2 Mar 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

MERCEDES-BENZ'S performance skunkworks AMG has developed and produced a GT3 race car that will hit the track in the customer-owned race series from March this year, following its debut at the Geneva motor show this week.

While it is based on the Mercedes-AMG GT sports coupe that is about to go on sale in Europe, the GT3 does not source its power from the AMG 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 under the bonnet of the production sportscar.

Instead, the German car-maker says its “seasoned” AMG 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V8, found in a number of Benz products, including the outgoing W204 C63 AMG and the SLS AMG GT3. Performance specs for the GT3 are yet to be revealed.

Benz says the six-speed sequential racing gearbox is mounted in a transaxle configuration on the rear axle for better weight distribution. This again differs from the GT which uses a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The GT3 does however share the same double-wishbone suspension made almost entirely from aluminium as its GT donor car.

Benz highlighted the “user-friendly technology, excellent reliability, long maintenance intervals and the high-revving naturally aspirated engine with low running costs” as reasons that made the AMG-developed V8 as the “engine of choice” for the GT3.

The GT3 builds on the design of its donor car with a widened beefy body, large air intakes, a diffuser and a massive rear spoiler.

It also features matte grey paintwork, or as Mercedes calls it, 'designo selenite grey magno'.

The GT3 carries over a number of lightweight properties and panels from the tamer, road-going GT version, including the rigid aluminium space-frame, which the car-maker says offers “outstanding protection for the driver”.

A carbon-fibre seat pan and a high-tensile steel roll-over cage also assist in protecting the driver.

Also keeping the fat off for the GT3 are the engine cover, front wing, front and rear aprons, doors, side skirts, sidewalls, diffuser, bootlid and the spoiler are all made from high-strength, lightweight carbon-fibre.

Mercedes-AMG chairman of the board of management Tobias Moers said the GT3 was good enough to take on the best in the world in the highly competitive customer race series.

"We are entering a hard-fought and hotly contested competitive environment with the new Mercedes-AMG GT3,” he said.

“The high technological standard and fair race rules are spurring us on to push to take pole position with our new customer racing car. You can only give credible proof of your ambition to lead if you're beating the very best in the game.”

A number of premium car-makers including Aston Martin, Jaguar, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Maserati, Bentley and McLaren have all produced GT3 cars for the customer race series in the past, as have more mainstream makes such as Chevrolet, Dodge and Nissan.

The road-going GT is set for an Australian launch in July and will be available in two states of tune – base GT 340kW/600Nm and GT S 375kW/650Nm, with the latter able to dash from zero to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds.

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