For the first time in my life I was able to attend the 24 hours of Spa, the largest GT3 race in the world. Thanks to Mercedes-Benz I could even take an exclusive view behind the scenes of some AMG Customer Racing facilities. Moreover we enjoyed the world premiere of the AMG GT4!
Around 20:30 we are heading towards the pitbox of the AMG HTP Motorsport team, known as Heice Motorsport before 2013. Four racing hours have passed then and everybody in the pitbox is in the 24 hours-zone. Some people are even running and no drivers are noticeable. HTP Motorsport participates with three cars at the 24 hours of Spa. Some pitstops just finihed and the pit crew is busy in refilling the fuel tanks. All data and lap times are monitored from a seperated office in the pit box, not anymore from the pitwall as previously. Andreas Ruck, AMG Driving Academy trainer, is guiding us and succeeds to grab driver Patrick Assenheimer for some questions. Due to a flat tyre, his car lost quite some time, but Patrick’s next stint is only in two hours so he has some time to ‘relax’.
Andreas brings us to the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing spare parts truck. All parts are available to all teams racing with AMG GT’s: Ukyo, Black Falckon, HTP Motorsport and AKKA ASP. It reduces the need for the teams to bring spare parts themselves which saves time and money. Overall the truck has around 3.000 different stock keeping units and the spare parts managers is able to find them within 30 seconds. He opens a drawer that consists of steering wheels, each of them having a value of at least € 3.400. For your information, Mercedes pays € 6.300 stallage to the circuit for a small week for only one truck. Andreas also told us that some days ago someone drove in a haste during the night for a new chassis due to a heavy crash. Thanks to the fast response of Mercedes, AMG could still start the race with 11 cars.
After that, we head towards the promo stand of Mercedes-AMG. Next to a E 63 S MATIC+ Edition 1 and an AMG GT C Edition 50 (limited to 500 pieces) there is also a showcase model of the brandnew AMG GT4. Several GT4 championships are there to enlarge racing to semi-professionals or to develop young drivers and since now AMG is offering this AMG GT4. Development driver Thomas Jäger gives us a short presentation of his baby and also five time DTM champion and also development driver Bernd Schneider is there too. Unfortunately the German doesn’t seem to be very happy with his media obligation and shows few interest. Sometimes it’s better to not meet your motorsports heroes. Thomas tells us that the GT4 is based on the AMG GT R and visually both models share the rear diffuser. Put an AMG GT4 next to the GT3 model which was competing during the Spa 24 hours it is easy to spot the massive differences.
AMG already completed around 20.000 km with the GT4, but final adjustments will be made in the coming months. Depending on the settings, the 4 litre V8 delivers 510 hp and 600 Nm. The sequential sixspeed gearbox is shared with the GT3 and is operated pneumatically. Underneath an aluminium spaceframe brings the required stiffness. Also the safety requirements from the FIA are no laugh such as the removable safety exit in the roof.
The order book is already open, but we need to wait until next year before we will see some AMG GT4’s in action on the track.