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Mercedes Introduces New Mercedes-AMG GT4

by TrackWorthy,

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“…we have taken the time that was necessary for development and testing to be able to offer a perfect product in the end. We aren’t entering a new segment to finish second.”Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing
Mercedes has introduced their latest competition car, the Mercedes‑AMG GT4. The new model is based on the road-going Mercedes-AMG GT R and has been made to meet the requirements of international GT4 race series. Its production-based concept combines racing technology with the highest level of safety and efficiency. With the Mercedes-AMG GT4, the sports car and performance brand expands its Customer Racing Program with a promising vehicle category. Since 2010 Mercedes-AMG has been competing in the GT3 class, initially with the SLS AMG GT3 and since 2016 with the Mercedes-AMG GT3. After an intense testing and trial phase, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 will be delivered to the first Customer Racing Teams at the end of 2017.

With the new race car, Mercedes-AMG GT4 is entering another GT racing category. Race series all over the world provide an attractive mix of demanding sprint races and legendary endurance races that allow for an increasing number of opportunities to compete with GT4 machinery.

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“The GT4 segment is getting more and more popular,” said Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “The production-based concept is an important factor, especially when you want to get started in motorsport as a team or as a driver. For some teams, the GT4 category also serves as a sensible addition to their existing involvement in GT3, for instance to support young drivers. For us as a manufacturer, GT4 competition is a logical next step to extend our Customer Racing Programme. After the achievements in GT3 racing, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is opening another valuable platform for us to prove our competence as a globally successful sports car and performance brand. There is no doubt that we will once again be setting new benchmarks in the segment with the latest member in our Customer Racing Programme.”
The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is based on the Mercedes-AMG GT R that was introduced in June, 2016 and already has a particularly high level of race track performance. The highly dynamic characteristics of the road-legal sports car were developed further in a consequent way. In every area where the production specification could mean a compromise for racing purposes, it is replaced by racing technology for the Mercedes-AMG GT4. The many years of experience from the GT3 segment have clearly been incorporated into the development.

As with the introduction of the SLS AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT3, aspirations for the new race car are high. The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is entering the scene as a fully matured and proven competition car. It arrives to set new benchmarks in its class relating to safety, ergonomics, driveability, performance as well as service- and user-friendliness.

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“Our customers have high expectations when we are presenting a new car,” said Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing. “And rightfully so: the SLS AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 were capable of winning from their very first lap of racing onwards and were able to prove it in an impressive way. That also is the benchmark for the new Mercedes-AMG GT4. Therefore, we have taken the time that was necessary for development and testing to be able to offer a perfect product in the end. We aren’t entering a new segment to finish second.”

As Test and Development Drivers, Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jäger and Jan Seyffarth are largely contributing to the maturity of the Mercedes-AMG GT4. Like with the SLS AMG GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT3, the co-operation between the experienced drivers and the engineers from Affalterbach is an important element in the complex vehicle development process. The close interaction between the experts results into excellent driveability, a characteristic that is typical for the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing cars.

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Prior to the first deliveries, scheduled for the end of 2017, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is to undergo further intense testing. The programme includes a total of over 30,000 kilometres of track testing. The new car has already successfully proven its reliable endurance performance and high durability in a 30-hour endurance test at race speed at the Lausitzring.

The Mercedes-AMG GT4 is powered by the 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine with direct fuel injection, known from the road cars from Affalterbach. The proven production technology of the front-mid engine allows for particularly long service intervals and also provides sufficient performance reserves for the future. Depending on the balance of performance, this results into an output of up to 510 hp and a maximum torque of over 440 lb-ft.

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Like in the Mercedes-AMG GT3, the sequential six-speed competition gearbox in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is linked to the rear axle in transaxle formation and is pneumatically operated. This arrangement results into a favourable weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity. A differential that is adjustable from the outside optimises the driving characteristics for the specific requirements of competition use. In the construction and the integration of the gearbox, the focus of the development was not only on performance, but also on the high service and rebuild friendliness.

To achieve maximum performance at the race track, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 has been weight-optimised in every area. An intelligent mix of aluminium and carbon has been used for the chassis and the bodywork. The structure of the GT4 consists of a very light and extremely rigid aluminium spaceframe that can also be found in the Mercedes-AMG GT R and that has been honoured with the ‘Leichtbau Award 2017’, an innovation award from the German engineers’ association VDI. As a part of the AMG Lightweight Performance Strategy, further measures and optimisations of details contribute to the weight reduction. Thus, racing-specific bodywork parts such as the bonnet, the front apron or the front splitter have been made of a particularly lightweight composite material. In the production version of the GT R, carbon is already used as a material, for instance for the front wings and the torque tube between the engine and the gearbox.

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Benchmark-setting safety The Mercedes-AMG GT4 has adopted the proven safety concept of its ‘big GT3 brother’ and is thus setting new benchmarks in its class. The best possible driver protection has the highest priority. Here, the rollcage of high-strength steel, screwed onto the aluminium spaceframe, is playing a central role. The carbon driver safety cell meets the latest FIA homologation standards and features an integrated headrest. Optionally, this is also available for the passenger seat. Because of its design, the safety cell also provides a very high level of protection for a driver’s shoulders, hips and legs. Moreover, it is compatible with the HANS (Head And Neck Support) system. An extrication hatch in the roof and a powerful fire extinguishing system round out the competition-specific safety features.

The main areas of competition for the Mercdes-AMG GT4 The boom of the GT4 class was initiated in Europe and is reflected in a rapidly increasing number of opportunities for competition, be it with exclusive GT4 formats or as separate vehicle categories within various series or events. Currently, the following series can be considered as the most important ‘hunting grounds’ for the new Mercedes-AMG GT4: the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge and the Pirelli World Challenge in the US, the Blancpain GT Series Asia in Asia and the Australian GT Trophy in Australia. In Germany, the VLN endurance racing championship and the Nürburgring 24-hours are the designated highlights for the new race car from Affalterbach. The GT4 European Series Northern Cup and the GT4 European Series Southern Cup are dedicated international GT4 series. The 24H Endurance Series also provides a large international platform for GT4 competition. Therefore, the new Mercedes-AMG GT4 is eligible to race at a large international platform where it can compete for victories and titles in the hands of the AMG Customer Racing Teams.

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