Mercedes-AMG is developing a new GT4 race car
AMG GT R road car + wings = new racer to challenge Porsche, McLaren and BMW
We drive Mercedes' new AMG GT R next week (in fact, Henry Catchpole drives it, the lucky blighter…) but the 911 GT3 rival is already being turned into a race car. Unveiled by AMG boss Tobias Moers at the company’s end-of-season celebration, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 was shown to customer teams and drivers at a private presentation.
No images have been released yet, just these two sketches, but expect all the usual racing accoutrements: a larger rear wing, new front splitter, dive planes, centre-lock wheels shod with slicks, air jacks for quick pit stops, a new FIA-approved fueling system, and not much in the way of interior trim bar a roll cage and racing bucket seat. Various race parts – where the rules allow – will be cherry-picked from the AMG GT3, and beyond that, because the audience for this car includes wealthy amateurs, high priorities will include ‘user-friendliness and an excellent level of safety’.
Regulations keep GT4 race cars as close to the road cars as possible to keep costs down – the use of titanium is banned for instance, unless it's an original part on the donor car, and both the bodywork dimensions and shape must remain original. Of course, if you use a model like the AMG GT, which features wider carbonfibre front wings, wider aluminium rear wings, and a carbonfibre roof, then all those parts can be carried over to the race car. See what they did there?
Mercedes hasn't yet revealed whether the AMG GT will feature the AMG GT R's twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8. The AMG GT3 features Merc's tried-and-tested naturally aspirated 6.2 monster motor, saving it the expense of engineering the smaller V8 for racing, but GT4 regs state 'the make and type of engine used must remain original, unless by a waiver'. Place your bets now, but either way, the regs will mean it’s down on power compared with the road car.
There’s also no word yet on when the AMG GT4 will start racing, but GT4 racing is getting more interesting by the day – Porsche’s Cayman GT4 Clubsport campaigned for the first time in 2016, McLaren will sell the 570S GT4 to customers for the 2017 season, and BMW will have an M4 GT4 ready for 2018.