Mercedes-AMG’s head of customer racing has outlined the manufacturer’s future trajectory in GT3 racing including the prospect of a new model arriving in 2025.
Stefan Wendl told Sportscar365 at last weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour that the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo is set to continue as the brand’s flagship GT racing product until the end of 2024.
He suggested that the end of the current Evo model’s homologation period after the 2024 season “could be a good chance” for Mercedes-AMG to introduce a successor.
The Mercedes-AMG GT3 made its global debut with customer teams in 2016 and was given an Evo update ahead of the 2020 season.
Wendl gave a vote of confidence in how GT3 has been managed by the FIA, which is responsible for vehicle homologation, and SRO Motorsports Group which sets the Balance of Performance in several key championships and founded the worldwide formula.
“I am quite happy about how the FIA and SRO handle the evolution of GT3 cars,” said Wendl.
“Since 2015-16, since the group of cars like the Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Audi and us came, there was a growth of manufacturers in that homologation period.
“Since then, the performance level has been kept constant.
“[SRO technical director] Claude Surmont, with his BoP, has always managed that new cars with high potential have always been balanced to the average of a field that could be referenced to 2016.
“You see in the lap times at Spa. Qualifying and race average times were in the window of one second. This is one base that manufacturers and customers can rely on for the cars to be used for a long time span.
“This makes developing new cars a challenge because you are not looking only for performance, to make it one or two seconds quicker.
“You have to look on details which are valued in the next generation.
“We brought an update in 2020 for the customers, based on cooling and endurance effects, and maintenance things. We are quite happy with how it works.
“Now we wait at the end for the homologation of our [current] GT, and then we tell our customers that they can wait for a successor car but not before 2025.”
Wendl said that Mercedes-AMG does not plan to roll out a so-called ‘double evo’ update for the AMG GT3 unless there are drastic changes in fundamental areas such as homologation.
Other manufacturers have introduced successions of Evo kits, such as Ferrari in 2018 and 2020 and both Acura and Audi in 2019 and 2022.
“We are happy with our car, and we don’t have any major problems,” Wendl said.
“So far this is also the plan of our customers: to have the car for a long lifespan with predictable costs.
“We will stick with it until minimum 2024, and then in 2025 a new homologation period begins. This could be a good chance for us.
“We are looking at the development of a new car.”
Wendl explained that the development of a GT3 successor product is an “ongoing process” that overlaps heavily with the competition activities of the current model.
The Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo is used extensively around the world, with teams running the car full-time in multiple series including the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and Super GT.
“We are evaluating the strengths and weak points of the car: summarizing feedback from the teams and engineers, to put it all in one database,” Wendl said.
“We are in an ongoing exchange with our road car developers: what comes next and where our strengths and weak points are, and what could be a good base for homologation.
“There might not be a clearer answer on this. It means we are in a process of choosing the right things, putting the right things together and making a car out of this.”