On Saturday, 25th September 2010 the new SLS AMG GT3 will join the starting lineup on the racetrack for the first time. Bernd Schneider and Thomas Jäger will be taking part in the four-hour race for the VLN Nürburgring endurance championship. Training for the 42nd ADAC Barbarossa Cup begins at 8.30 a.m. and the race starts at 12.00 noon.
This first racetrack appearance of the SLS AMG GT3 at the VLN event (VLN = Association of Nürburgring Endurance Cup Organisers, with 10 motorsport clubs) is a fixed part of the development and testing programme which commenced in June 2010. The four-hour race on the legendary "Nordschleife" ("North Loop") of the Nürburgring will test the gullwing model under realistic racing conditions. The focus will not only be on fast lap times, but also on the durability of all components, service-friendliness and smooth procedures during pitstops and driver changes. During this race on the 20.8-kilometre long Nürburgring "Nordschleife" – which is acknowledged to be the world's most demanding racetrack – the chosen suspension setup will be assessed under racing conditions for the first time.
Developed according to the GT3 rules of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), the SLS AMG GT3 will take to the starting line for the VLN race in prototype class E1-XP.
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug: "The Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 will start a new era in Mercedes-Benz customer motorsports. This car is an exciting and spectacular sporting tool for committed private teams and talented private drivers. Together with our well-proven sports and touring car partner HWA, AMG will establish a customer motorsports department, and ensure the usual high level of Mercedes service for its motorsports customers."
The drivers for this racetrack debut of the SLS AMG GT3 are Bernd Schneider (46) – who has been a Mercedes-Benz works driver for many years and is also an AMG brand ambassador – and Thomas Jäger (33). With five DTM titles, one ITC championship and one FIA GT championship to his name, Bernd Schneider is one of the most successful German racing drivers. Thomas Jäger is the reigning Porsche Carrera Cup (Germany) champion, and drove in the DTM for Mercedes-Benz between 2000 and 2003. This season he is lining up in the ADAC GT-Masters (Germany). Like Bernd Schneider, he is a member of the instructor team at the AMG Driving Academy.
Cooperation between AMG and HWA AG
The racing version of the SLS AMG is being developed and produced by AMG in close cooperation with HWA AG. The HWA team is one of the most successful in international motorsport, as shown by nine driver championships in the DTM and ITC, as well as two championship titles in the FIA GT Championships. No other brand has won as many DTM races and DTM titles as AMG-Mercedes.
Interested racing teams can enter the new SLS AMG GT3 in all race series under the FIA GT3 regulations, for example the FIA GT3 European Championship, the ADAC GT-Masters and the endurance championship organised by the VLN (Association of Nürburgring Endurance Cup Organisers, with 10 motorsport clubs) as well as the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring or Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium).
Orders for the SLS AMG GT3 placed directly with Mercedes-AMG
Orders can be placed directly with Mercedes-AMG GmbH. The sales price is € 334,000 (net)/€ 397,460 (incl. 19% VAT). The vehicle is only available with left-hand drive. Deliveries commence in February 2011, following homologation by the FIA in accordance with the GT3 regulations.
The VLN Nürburgring endurance championship offers plenty of excitement
As part of the development programme, further racing trials of the SLS AMG GT3 are planned in the final two VLN races to be held on 16 and 30 October 2010. The VLN Nürburgring endurance championship has created a loyal following for itself with a wide variety of competitors, easily accessible paddocks and low entry prices. The colourful lineup, with different vehicle models ranging from near-series compact cars to recent classics and right up to thoroughbred super-sports cars, guarantees fast-changing and exciting races. Depending on the event, more than 190 racing cars can be at the starting line.