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Mercedes-AMG Downplays Track Series GT2 Credentials

Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing boss clarifies position on GT2 involvement with Track Series…

Photo: Gruppe 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 stating that 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 brand into SRO Motorsports Group’s GT2 formula alongside the likes of Audi, Porsche and KTM.

Wendl has since confirmed that Mercedes-AMG is not pursuing a GT2 homologation for the 734-horsepower machine, although customers are welcome to race it in series 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 aerodynamics package.

The Track Series will make its race debut this weekend in 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 really made for track day use,” Wendl told Sportscar365.

“We didn’t care about any homologation topics: we just sought to make the best out of things we have already developed or already have available with our Black Series road car, and tried to put it together in a fascinating way to have a nice tool for having on the track.

“Stephane 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 race series like the 24H Series in the SPX class, maybe also SP8T at the Nürburgring where you can run such a car. It would fit into such a dimension, but we don’t know yet.

“The prospects who contacted us so far want to have this car as collectors or to go on track days. This is what we have had so far.”

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

The car made its public track debut late last month during a Curbstone track day event 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, putting it together and starting production soon,” Wendl said.

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

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

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

“Everybody who tries it will get the best help possible. But we didn’t plan any spare parts service at the track, for example. So this car is not intentionally built for GT2 or other racing.”

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

Wendl noted that the turbo engine is straightforward to down-tune into the performance windows of series that have lower power targets than the Track Series’ 734 hp output.

However, he also suggested that pursuing an SRO GT2 homologation would require additional development work that Mercedes-AMG is not willing to pursue.

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

“If we would make it into a GT2 car, there would be even more effort necessary in development, to set up and bring a car on the track with so much power and 1400 kg weight.

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

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

“This was originally our intention. While doing it, we figured out that we were close to something that could be used somewhere else, but this was not intentional.”

SPS Set for “Interesting Challenge” of Race Debut

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

SPS normally fields Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos in Europe but this weekend’s GT2 European Series round will see it form part of a Mercedes-AMG testing and validation program.

“Running 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 step will be to get through the weekend without any issues and to gather valuable data.

“Also, our driver lineup is tailor-made for this test. We will be very motivated in the way we approach this magnificent task.”

Schneider, who is a Mercedes-AMG brand ambassador, added: “I am really looking forward to this event.

“Driving the Mercedes-AMG GT Track Series under race conditions for the first time together with Stephane Ratel and SPS Automotive Performance is a great and unique opportunity.

“Mercedes-AMG has designed a great car that combines many years of experience in motorsport and in developing 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.

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