Track services

Mercedes-AMG plays down Track Series GT2 credentials – Sportscar365

Photo: Group C Photography

Mercedes-AMG has clarified the racing credentials of its new Track Series model, with the manufacturer’s head of Customer Racing Stefan Wendl saying the car was “not intentionally built for GT2 homologation”.

When the Mercedes-AMG GT Track Series was launched in March, it was initially understood that the car would bring the German marque into SRO Motorsports Group’s GT2 formula alongside Audi, Porsche and KTM.

Wendl has since confirmed that Mercedes-AMG is not pursuing GT2 homologation for the 734-hp machine, although customers are welcome to race it in production where it is eligible or invited.

The Track series is described by Mercedes-AMG as the company’s “most powerful customer sports car” to date.

It is powered by a 4-liter twin-turbo engine and has several racing features including a six-speed Hewland sequential gearbox and a track-focused aero package.

The Track Series will make its racing debut this weekend at the Fanatec GT2 European Series round at the Red Bull Ring, where SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel and decorated Mercedes driver Bernd Schneider will share the wheel in the Invitational class.

“For us, it’s definitely made for track use,” Wendl told Sportscar365.

“We don’t care about any homologation topic: we just looked to take the best of the things we’ve already developed or we already have with our Black Series road car, and tried to put them together in a way fascinating to have a nice tool to have on the trail.

“Stéphane picked it up immediately and said he wanted to give this car a homologation, like an invitational homologation, for his GT2.

“I think there are even more racing series like the 24H series in the SPX class, maybe also SP8T at the Nürburgring where you can drive such a car. It would fit in such a dimension, but we don’t know. not yet.

“The prospects who have contacted us so far would like to have this car as collectors or to go on the circuit. That’s what we’ve had so far.

Wendl said this weekend’s round of the GT2 Series will be useful to see how the Track Series reacts to the unique conditions brought by a competitive environment.

The car made its public track debut late last month at a Curbstone track day at Paul Ricard where customers and media were able to get behind the wheel.

“Then we finalized our test program in Valencia, so we are now looking forward to collecting all the data, collating it and starting production soon,” Wendl said.

“[A race] is something we will do, just to get an impression or to be ready for customers who want to race.

“To see how the car reacts to the usual things that happen on a race track, like catching up wheel arches, braking performance or running in the slipstream.

“These are things we want to check now that the road test program is finally over. But there is no racing activity from our side, no support on that.

“Anyone who tries it will get the best possible help. But we didn’t plan on a spare parts service on the circuit, for example. So this car is not intentionally built for GT2 or other races.

When the Track Series was announced, it was touted as being “conceptualized for use during track days and club sporting events”, leaving open the possibility for it to compete.

Wendl noted that the turbo engine is simple to tune in the series performance windows that have lower power targets than the Track Series’ 734 hp.

However, he also suggested that pursuing an SRO GT2 homologation would require additional development work which Mercedes-AMG is unwilling to pursue.

“With the 55 units based on our 55th anniversary, this should be a collector’s car,” Wendl explained.

“If we were to make it a GT2 car, there would be even more effort to put into development, to get a car out there and get it to the track with that much power and a weight of 1400kg.

“It’s not so easy to make it reliable and meet all the quality requirements we have, to represent the car to customers.

“That’s why it’s easier as a track day car for track day customers, and we can also offer the service to them at HWA. It’s a different approach to a new class of customer that we didn’t have before.

“It was our original intention. By doing it, we realized we were close to something that could be used elsewhere, but it wasn’t intentional.

SPS ready for ‘interesting challenge’ of racing debut

The SPS Automotive Performance team principal described the prospect of making its racing debut with the Mercedes-AMG GT Track Series as an “interesting challenge”.

SPS normally field Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos in Europe, but this weekend’s round of the GT2 European Series will see it part of a Mercedes-AMG test and validation programme.

“Racing the Mercedes-AMG GT Track Series in competitive conditions is a great and interesting challenge,” said Stephan Sohn.

“The most important goal for the first stage will be to get through the weekend without any problems and to collect valuable data.

“Furthermore, our line-up of riders is tailor-made for this test. We will be very motivated in how we approach this magnificent task.

Schneider, Mercedes-AMG Brand Ambassador, added: “I am really looking forward to this event.

“Driving the Mercedes-AMG GT Track Series for the first time in racing conditions with Stéphane Ratel and SPS Automotive Performance is a great and unique opportunity.

“Mercedes-AMG has designed a superb car that combines many years of experience in motorsport and in the development of performance cars.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.