Mercedes continues to diversify its motorsport portfolio, with its latest customer race car aimed at taking on the increasingly popular GT4 category of racing.
Mercedes-AMG unveiled its new GT4 racer Tuesday at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps ahead of the 24 Hours of Spa. The car, as with all GT4 cars, is production-based, with AMG using the GT R, which currently holds the Nurburgring lap record for rear-wheel-drive production cars.
Lately, the GT4 category of racing has gained a lot of traction from manufacturers and teams worldwide. The category is a great marketing tool for automakers because it uses cars that are visually and mechanically similar to the ones their dealers sell, and it’s a less expensive option than GT3 for teams to get involved in sports car racing.
“For some teams, the GT4 category also serves as a sensible addition to their existing involvement in GT3, for instance to support young drivers,” Tobias Moers, chairman of the board of management of Mercedes-AMG, said in a statement.
We first learned that AMG was working on the GT4 in December, though at the time we weren’t fully aware how capable it would be. It wasn’t until a few days after Mercedes teased the race car that it revealed the road-going GT R’s Nurburgring lap time.
The GT4, like most GT racers, is down on power compared to the road car — 510 horsepower compared to 577 horsepower in the GT R — though it has a lighter-weight construction and better aerodynamics.
Mercedes has set aside various GT4 series in Asia, Germany and Australia. In the United States, Merc has designated the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Championship and Pirelli World Challenge as the GT4’s prime “hunting grounds.”
Although AMG said the GT4 already completed a 30-hour endurance test at EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany, it plans to conduct “further intense testing” that will be comprised of 30,000 kilometers ( 18,641 miles) of track testing. It also will run three prototypes of the car at certain races throughout 2017 to gather data under race conditions.
All photos via Daimler