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).