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Mercedes-Benz SLS prepped to go GT3 racing

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0700

Mercedes-Benz AMG pulled the wraps off its new race car on Monday in Oaxaca, Mexico, scene of a commemoration of Mercedes' victory in the 1952 Carrera Panamericana.

The new SLS GT3 is a modified Mercedes-Benz SLS intended to meet FIA homologation requirements for the GT3 class in series throughout the world.

While it's not known what the production car will look like when it starts going to customers either this fall--according to the press release--or "before the start of the 2011 racing season," according to AMG's Thomas Rappel, the prototype shown in Oaxaca had a full roll cage, a new front skirt with splitter, rear diffusers and an enormous rear wing.

A hood extractor sat in front and all fenders were widened by about 1 inch. Rappel said the car had a stock SLS drivetrain in it, but the final configuration will have to wait until later this year.

Mercedes insiders hint that the V8 engine will deliver about 600 hp and that the SLS GT3 will be significantly lighter than the road car thanks, in part, to a stripped-down interior and a carbon-fiber body.

By Mark Vaughn and Greg Kable