The order book has just opened for the sensational SLS GT3 customer racer, but it might be a battle to get your hands on an early one as M-B says it has been overwhelmed with far more enquiries than it can deal with initially.
It's not surprising, given how utterly fabulous the new machine looks, and the resurgence in relatively low cost GT racing. (Relatively in this case means a price tag just shy of the €335k mark for the car alone - exc. VAT!)
"The Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 marks the beginning of a new era in Mercedes-Benz customer motorsport. This is an exciting and spectacular sports car for dedicated private teams and talented private drivers," says Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief Norbert Haug.
"I am very pleased that the demand for this new and unique competition car is so great - there are many more enquiries for orders than can initially be dealt with. But, have no fear, the production curve will be ramped up step by step so that all interested parties who are serious about the SLS AMG GT3 can be served successively."
Mercedes has also released more details about the car, including - as you can see from the pics - its body modifications. The focus is on aerodynamic performance, so the racer gets a new front apron with a splitter, a bonnet with its central cooling air vent and wider front and rear wings. It also features wheel arch air vents, side skirts with cooling ducts for the rear brakes, a smooth underbody with a rear diffuser and an adjustable rear aerofoil. All this ensures a low drag coefficient and excellent aerodynamic efficiency, says AMG, while guaranteeing effective cooling of the thermally highly stressed components. The C-pillars accommodate standardised filler pipes for the fast-refuel system.
Final output of the 6.2 litre V8 will be decided under the FIA's 'Balance of power' regulations, and the car will be fully homologated in February when deliveries will start. The transaxle gearbox and suspension are largely the same as in the road-going cars, so the wheels are located by forged aluminium double-wishbones front and rear. Adjustment facilities for the springs and shock absorbers, the suspension height, the stabilisers, the track width and camber allow an individual setup for the racetrack. Rack-and-pinion steering with a more direct ratio and servo assistance make for more agile handling, while behind the central-locking AMG 18-inch light-alloy wheels, a steel racing braking system with racing ABS ensures outstanding deceleration. An airjack system is integrated in the underbody to allow fast wheel changes.
A functional racing car atmosphere dominates the interior of the SLS AMG GT3 and the steel roll cage offers a high level of safety for the driver as well as further stiffening the aluminium spaceframe.
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 roll 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.
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 car, claims Mercedes.
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. 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.
The car has been undergoing testing since June last year, largely in the hands of legendary German DTM racer Bernd Schneider, and supported by Porsche Carrera Cup champion Thomas Jäger.
There are some older pics here...