Tales from the paddock: The Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO – “a car that delivers pure driving enjoyment”

Tales from the paddock: The Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO – “a car that delivers pure driving enjoyment”

The lessons of a tough weekend in São Paulo
Formula One is a fast-moving sport – not only on the racetrack but also off it. One week after Lewis Hamilton had stood celebrating on the Grand Prix podium in Mexico City, the team experienced one of the most frustrating setbacks of the current campaign at the third-to-last race of the season in Brazil. The São Paulo Grand Prix was the sixth and final sprint weekend of the year. The problems became apparent early on: in both qualifying sessions, it was difficult to find the right working window for the W14. In the subsequent Sprint and Grand Prix, the race pace was not particularly good. This was all the more surprising as the team had been in contention for podium places on the previous two race weekends in Austin and Mexico City. In Brazil, however, they had few opportunities to get to grips with the problems, as the cars were under parc-fermé conditions from qualifying on Friday and, according to the regulations, only very limited changes could be made to them. After George Russell and Lewis had finished fourth and seventh in the sprint, the two drivers started Sunday’s Grand Prix from fifth and eighth on the grid. As in the sprint, both drivers also made strong starts in the main race: in the sprint, George initially improved by two positions to P2; in the Grand Prix, Lewis quickly moved up from P5 to P3 and George from P8 to P6. As the race progressed, however, both drivers dropped further and further back. They struggled to keep up with the cars in front and suffered from overheating rear tyres. Lewis eventually crossed the finish line in eighth position, while George had to retire due to high oil temperatures in the power unit. If he had continued, there would have been a risk of imminent failure. The team therefore called his car in 15 laps before the end of the race.

Ultimate track day tool: The Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO
The new Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO was launched last week. This customer sports car is based on the powerful, race-homologated Mercedes-AMG GT2. The Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO – the new pinnacle of the Customer Racing portfolio – boasts some novel features such as its Push2Pass button which temporarily increases the boost pressure, allowing the full power potential of the 750hp engine to be called up for a short time. The Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO was developed to take the track day experience to a new level. We talked to Stefan Wendl, Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing, about the concept for the Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO and the features that characterise this racing car.

Three questions for Stefan Wendl, Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing

Stefan, the Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO represents a new high-performance addition to the AMG customer racing portfolio. Tell us about the development process, from the original idea through development to the product launch.
Stefan Wendl: “We are engaged in an ongoing process, in which we analyse current customer needs based on sales figures and conduct further discussions to define them in more detail. For example, we have recognised the potential among track day customers who are looking for a vehicle that delivers pure driving enjoyment while not necessarily being used under actual competition circumstances. On closer inspection of our existing vehicle portfolio, we found the Mercedes-AMG GT2 to be a suitable model for upgrading to the new GT2 PRO.”

The Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO is a derivative based on the GT2 and designed for track day use. What are the most significant differences between the two racing cars?
Stefan Wendl: “On the outside, it differs from the Mercedes-AMG GT2 primarily in terms of the special paintwork, the two-tone 18-inch light-alloy wheels and the design-optimised rear wing end plates. In this case, however, we have placed particular emphasis on the interior details. Together with the driver’s equipment that comes as part of the package, including a BELL helmet and a PUMA racing suit in matching design, the appearance of the car can be perfected for every track day appearance. For an even more emotionally uplifting experience on the racetrack, we have added an extra button on the steering wheel which, when activated, raises the peak power to an impressive 750 horsepower.”

As you say, the GT2 PRO is primarily designed for track days and testing. Who are the intended customers for this?
Stefan Wendl: “The Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO has been developed for precisely those individualists who are capable of driving a V8-powered racing car with an output of up to 750 hp on the racetrack in pursuit of new personal lap records. We give them the ideal tool to further enhance their own personal performance and push it to the limits. Our Mercedes-AMG GT2 PRO also cuts a dashing figure off the racetrack as a classy and exclusive collector’s car.”

News snippets: Results and Facts & Social Media News

Super GT:
LEON Racing rounded off the 2023 campaign with a highly respectable result. The Japanese Customer Racing team finished second in the GT300 class at the season finale at the Mobility Resort Motegi. After a race distance of 300 kilometres and 63 laps, Naoya Gamou and Takuro Shinohara in the number 65 Mercedes-AMG GT3 crossed the line around seven seconds behind the winners.

Fast Fact:
Naoya Gamou and Takuro Shinohara began and ended the 2023 season with a P2 in their class. Further points-scoring results in the other six races were a P4 and a P6. The LEON Racing duo finished the 2023 Super GT fourth in the GT300 class. This is the best end-of-season result for LEON Racing since 2020, when their number 65 Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished third overall in the GT300 class. In 2018, the team became champions with Naoya Gamou and his compatriot Haruki Kurosawa. A year earlier, a Mercedes-AMG GT3 fielded by Team Goodsmile Racing & TeamUKYO won the championship title in the GT300 class.

Highlands 6 Hour Enduro:
To mark the tenth anniversary of the Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand, the racetrack hosted a six-hour endurance race. Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing outfit Mach 1 Engineering won this one-off event. Marco Giltrap, Paul Pedersen and Anthony Pedersen (all NZL) in the #96 Mercedes-AMG GT3 dominated the race, eventually finishing 0.8 seconds ahead of their closest pursuers.

National GT Challenge:
The 2023 National GT Challenge ended at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with two victories in the GT-X class for LEMA Racing. Slovenia’s Matej Kosic in the #5 Mercedes-AMG GT4 came out on top in the two 20-minute races. He won the first race ahead of his team-mate and compatriot Andrej Lah in the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT4.

E-Sports:
Mercedes-AMG E-Sports Team ART claimed two victories in two different races at the virtual Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta last weekend. Luke McKeown (GBR) and Alejandro Sanchez (ESP) won the 2hr 40 mins IMSA Esports Global Championship driving the #101 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Meanwhile, Jamie Fluke (GBR) was winning the 15-minute race of the ESL R1 Fall Season 2023 at the controls of the #49 Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport

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