Bernd Schneider (46) and Christian Mamerow (25) took third place with a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 entered by the private team Mamerow Racing during the tenth and last race of the VLN long-distance championship at the Nürburgring on Saturday. Thomas Jäger (34) and Christopher Haase (23) with an SLS AMG GT3 entered by the private team Black Falcon withdrew after eight of the 27 laps owing to a defect in the power transmission. The 4-hour race was the third test outing, and also the last race of the season for the gull-wing.
Both SLS AMG GT3 cars started the race from the fifth rank. Bernd Schneider, starting from position nine with the start number 739, edged up to eighth position in the first lap and seventh position in the third lap. After changing drivers in the eighth lap, Christian Mamerow battled his way to third place with consistently good lap times. Schneider and Mamerow held on to third position until the end of the race, and ended the final event in the VLN Nürburgring long-distance championship with a place on the winners' rostrum.
Thomas Jäger, starting in tenth place with start number 738, lay in eighth place in the third lap. Problems with the power transfer forced the SLS AMG GT3 to take a repair break in lap eight. As the problem could not be rectified in the pits, the team decided to withdraw the car from the race.
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 third 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).
Bernd Schneider: "Naturally we're all very pleased about the third place. We had a problem-free race with consistently good lap times. Today's 4-hour race was definitely very promising for the further development of the SLS AMG GT3."
On 16 October 2010, Thomas Jäger and Christopher Haase had already won the penultimate VLN race with an SLS AMG GT3 entered by the private team Black Falcon. Bernd Schneider and Christian Mamerow, driving the gull-wing entered by Mamerow-Racing from pole position, were obliged to withdraw when in second place in the fifth lap following a collision.
With five titles in the DTM as well as one each in the ITC and FIA GT championships, Bernd Schneider is one of the most successful German race drivers. Thomas Jäger 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.
Since 1 October 2010, Thomas Jäger has also acted as a coordinator for AMG customer sports. As the central point of contact, he supports the customer teams on all organisational and technical matters.
Next race outing at the Dubai 24 Hours (UAE) in 2011
Three SLS AMG GT3s will be at the start for the next race, the Dubai 24 Hours (UAE) to be held on 14 and 15 January 2011. Two cars will be entered by the private team Black Falcon, and the third SLS AMG GT3 by Heico Motorsport. The first outing in a long-distance race is likewise a fixed part of the development programme with the focus on customer-oriented development.
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 anything like as many DTM races and DTM titles as AMG Mercedes cars.
Deliveries from March 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 March 2011; the sales price will be 334,000 euros (net)/397,460 euros (incl. 19% VAT). 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).
Racing version of the gull-wing according to the near-series FIA GT3 rules
The racing version of the gull-wing was conceived as a customer sports car for sprints and long-distance racing according to the near-series FIA GT3 rulebook. Uncompromising driving dynamics are ensured by rigorous lightweight construction and improvements to the suspension, braking system and aerodynamics. The maximum output of the AMG 6.3 litre V8 front-mid engine with dry sump lubrication is determined by the FIA according to the "balance of performance". This is to ensure equal chances for all the racing cars taking part. This classification, during which the kerb weight of the car is also specified, will take place in spring 2011.
Installing the eight-cylinder power unit as low as possible behind the front axle as a front-mid engine, and combining it with a transmission at the rear axle, leads to a favourable weight distribution and a low centre of gravity. The transaxle arangement also optimises handling and traction. The six-speed racing transmission with sequential gearshifts has a flexurally and torsionally rigid connection to the V8 engine in the form of a torque tube. The lightweight aluminium suspension with double wishbones and the steel racing braking system with racing ABS ensure perfect racetrack performance.
Exemplary level of safety thanks to a carbon-fibre safety compartment
As in the Mercedes-Benz DTM cars, the bucket seat of the SLS AMG GT3 is inside a safety compartment of high-strength carbon-fibre (CRP). Thanks to its special shape, the safety compartment bolted to the rollover cage and the aluminium spaceframe provides significantly better protection for the driver's shoulders, hips and legs; it is also compatible with the HANS system (Head and Neck Support). The bucket seat has an individual foam filling, features a six-point seat belt and ensures the greatest possible occupant safety. Additional safety is provided by the steel rollover cage, which also gives further rigidity to the aluminium spaceframe.