The Spa 24 Hours will finally see the first presentation by Mercedes AMG of the Mercedes-AMG GT4.
The new model is based on the 4.0 litre twin turbo V8 powered Mercedes-AMG GT R to full FIA GT4 specification.
The new car becomes the third GT racer to emerge from Mercedes AMG’s customer motorsport operation following on from 2010’s SLS AMG GT3 and 2016’s Mercedes-AMG GT3.
After an intense testing and trial phase, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 will be delivered to the first Customer Racing Teams at the end of 2017.
Mercedes AMG have defined their first priority markets for the new car: the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge and the Pirelli World Challenge in the US, the Blancpain GT Series Asia in Asia and the Australian GT Trophy in Australia. In Germany, the VLN endurance racing championship and the Nürburgring 24-hours are the designated highlights for the new race car from Affalterbach. The GT4 European Series Northern Cup and the GT4 European Series Southern Cup are dedicated international GT4 series. The 24H Endurance Series also provides a large international platform for GT4 competition.
“The GT4 segment is getting more and more popular. The production-based concept is an important factor, especially when you want to get started in motorsport as a team or as a driver. For some teams, the GT4 category also serves as a sensible addition to their existing involvement in GT3, for instance to support young drivers,” says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
“For us as a manufacturer, GT4 competition is a logical next step to extend our Customer Racing Programme. After the achievements in GT3 racing, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is opening another valuable platform for us to prove our competence as a globally successful sports car and performance brand. There is no doubt that we will once again be setting new benchmarks in the segment with the latest member in our Customer Racing Programme.”
“Our customers have high expectations when we are presenting a new car. And rightfully so: the SLS AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 were capable of winning from their very first lap of racing onwards and were able to prove it in an impressive way. That also is the benchmark for the new Mercedes-AMG GT4. Therefore, we have taken the time that was necessary for development and testing to be able to offer a perfect product in the end. We aren’t entering a new segment to finish second,” Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing, says.
Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jäger and Jan Seyffarth are the nominated test and development drivers for the new car.
Prior to the first customer deliveries, scheduled for the end of 2017, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 will continue to undergo further intense testing.
The programme includes a total of over 30,000 kilometres of track testing. The new car has already successfully proven its reliable endurance performance and high durability in a 30-hour endurance test at race speed at the Lausitzring.
Three prototypes will be participating in selected test races during the current 2017 motorsport season. For these outings, the cars will be run in co-operation with development partner HWA AG and, if required, with support from partner teams.
The Mercedes-AMG GT4’s 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine with direct fuel injection, allows, says AMG, for particularly long service intervals with future proofed performance reserves. Depending on the balance of performance, this results into an output of up to 375 kW (510 hp) and a maximum torque of over 600 Nm.
A sequential six-speed competition gearbox in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is linked to the rear axle in transaxle formation and is pneumatically operated for favourable weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity. The focus of the development was not only on performance, but also on the high service and rebuild friendliness.
The car has been weight-optimised in every area. A mix of aluminium and carbon has been used for the chassis and the bodywork. The structure of the GT4 consists of a very light and extremely rigid aluminium spaceframe already recognised with the ‘Leichtbauaward 2017’, an innovation award from the German engineers’ association VDI.
Racing-specific bodywork parts such as the bonnet, the front apron or the front splitter have been made of a particularly lightweight composite material. In the production version of the GT R, carbon is already used as a material, for instance for the front wings and the torque tube between the engine and the gearbox.
The best possible driver protection has been adopted with a rollcage of high-strength steel, screwed onto the aluminium spaceframe. The carbon driver safety cell meets the latest FIA homologation standards and features an integrated headrest.
Because of its design, the safety cell also provides a very high level of protection for a driver’s shoulders, hips and legs. It is compatible with the HANS (Head And Neck Support) system. The mandatory extrication hatch in the roof and a powerful fire extinguishing system are also fitted.
The aerodynamics build on the innovative aerodynamic concept of the Mercedes-AMG GT R with the race car further optimised in a comprehensive wind tunnel test.
The rear wing of the GT4 car has a very wide adjustment range to select the required combination of low drag and high downforce levels. At the aerodynamically optimised front, a wide splitter reduces the lift on the front axle, to which the flics mounted to the side of the front apron contribute as well.