We all know the saying ‘love at first sight' but at the 24H Nurburgring it was the loud rumble of its V8 that got me hooked to this car. When I walked through the Schubert Motorsport pitbox it was that sound that got me walking a bit faster towards the pitlane. Soon it became obvious the sound came from the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3.
The shot above was taken by Paddy McGrath at the famous ‘flugplatz', which perfectly illustrates why this part of the track is called that.
But let's get back to the sound. The car is easily recognizable thanks to its loud burble that resemble a WWII fighter plane on steroids. Every time I heard the car driving through the pitlane with the revs bouncing the limiter it brought a smile to my face.
The sound comes from these side exit exhausts that connect to the 6208cc V8 engine.
The GT3 version of the SLS really resembles the road going version. For me that is the appeal of the GT3 series. The GT3 version is obviously lower annd has a wider track.
A close up look of the massive vent on the side of the car reveals some of the hosing to cool down the steel brake rotors and six piston calipers up front.
The rear wing is truly massive, and goes through the trunk lid and mounted to the chassis to have maximum effect. This shot was taken during the pre-grid ceremony. All the cars line up on the grid and you get the chance to get real close to the cars and the drivers.
There were five teams that entered a total of eight cars in the SP9 GT3 class. This meant they were the direct competition of our own TNFS BMW Z4. This is car #36 that belonged to Rowe Racing.
This #20 SLS was campaigned by the Black Falcon Racing Team. They managed to finish in 49th place overall and 16th in the SP9 GT3 class.
I absolutely love this shot of the #20 car braking hard, its splitter sparking against the circuit.
The engine is pretty much the same as the road going version. The standard version has 563hp and after talking to some people at the race I was told this GT3 version has 600hp.
The cockpit is quite complex. That said, they've still been able to shave almost 800 pounds off the overall weight, most of which has been removed from the interior. The 7 speed transmission from the road going version has been replaced in favor of a 6 speed sequential transmission that can be operated using the paddles on the steering wheel.
With the buttons and switches on the center console you can start the car, adjust traction control, tweak brake balance and activate the fire extinguisher if you are in trouble.
I was told that there are small shape charges in the door that explode when the car is upside down after a crash because of the gullwing door design.
Check out the glowing disc brakes behind the 18" light alloy wheels. They are made from steel because the carbon ceramic versions you can buy as an option for the road going version aren't allowed in the GT3 class.
Rod was able to take some amazing shots at the Karussell during qualifying. Here we see the #24 campaigned by the Race & Event team. Unfortunately this particular car wasn't able to finish the race because it crashed in the middle of the night.
This #21 car was able to finish in 7th place with a fastest laptime of 8:47.709 minutes.
In this shot you can see how big the dip is when you enter the Karussell. You can even see some sparks coming off the floor of the car.