Santa Delivers new GT3 cars

If you’ve been paying attention to social media, you’ve seen that some teams have been posting pictures of their brand new race cars as they’re being delivered.  The past week or so has seen a lot of new hardware delivered to waiting race teams and more deliveries are coming soon.  Some cars are only shown by their teams after they’ve received their new colors, but there is something about the bare carbon presence of a brand new race car.  We’ll also be watching for delivery of new customer AMG GT3 cars as deliveries are set to begin in the coming week.

Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan (via Bryan Sellers Twitter)

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Team Seattle Porsche 997 GT3 R in the shop and at Sebring (via Ian James Twitter)

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Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS at Sebring (via Magnus Rracing Twitter)

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Turner Motorsport BMW M6 in Munich (via Turner Motorsport Facebook)

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Frikadelli Porsche 997 GT3 R (via Sabine Schmitz Facebook)

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ROWE Racing to BMW for 2016

With Mercedes AMG on the verge of delivering a new GT3 race car for the 2016 season, it was a surprise (to this scribe, at least) to see the announcement that SLS stalwart ROWE Racing is moving to the BMW M6 platform for 2016.  The withdrawal of the Marc VDS team apparently provided an opening for a factory favored slot in the BMW stable.

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The white and yellow ROWE Mercedes AMG SLS GT3 team usually has run 2 cars and has been consistently competitive in events like the Nurburgring 24 hours.  A podium in 2014 is probably not a fair reflection of the team’s strength.

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The ROWE Racing colors look quite distinctive on the BMW M6.  BMW Motorsport apparently saw what they liked at ROWE and there is a real opportunity for good results in 2016.Front_24hNBR_ROWE2

This news provides the perfect opportunity for a photo gallery from the past few years of ROWE Racing Mercedes cars at the Nurburgring 24.  Enjoy!

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IMSA Daytona Test notes

Once again, Marshall Pruett is a journalistic machine.  He continues to turn out high quality pieces on open wheel and sportscar topics.  The latest is a rewind on the IMSA test at Daytona posted on Racer.com.  Marshall has lots of goodies about people, tires, testing, Balance of Performance and development.

Perhaps the most potentially disappointing tidbit is the note that a deal between IMSA and either Aston Martin or Mercedes is unlikely which means no customer GT cars on the IMSA grid in 2016.

DragonSpeed brought two SLS models to the test and TRG had an Aston Martin in action as well.  (Incidentally, the Sportscar365 team posted several reports on the test.  If you haven’t read the Tuesday notebook or the Wednesday notebook, they are both worth a read.   The site also features photo galleries like this.  Dailysportscar also has posted a photo gallery from the test.)

AMG has said that their order books for the new GT3 are busy and existing customers are first in line, so they weren’t expecting to have cars available – at least early in the season.

It could still be an interesting IMSA season with a new Audi, a gaggle of Lamborghinis, a new BMW M6 platform, a new Porsche 911, a new Ford GT, the new Ferrari 488, the return of the Viper, and other news, but hopefully the Aston Martin and Mercedes can find their way to the grid at some point.  The more the merrier…

 

IMSA Daytona Test News

Cars haven’t turned wheels on the track, but lots of IMSA news coming out of Daytona today.  Some exciting, some disappointing.  Here we go…

First, the disappointing – for now at least.  The new Mercedes AMG GT3 will be at the test, but will not be on the grid for the early part of the 2016 IMSA season.  The good news is that there is a lot of interest.  Mercedes will deliver cars to existing customers who put in orders early, which means no AMG GT3 at the Rolex 24.  The silver lining also may be that Mercedes sounds interested and the issue is just a matter of logistics.  The other good news is that DragonSpeed intends to be at Daytona with two Mercedes SLS GT3 cars, so hopefully they’ll make the Rolex 24.

Second, Turner Motorsports will be running to BMW M6 GT3 entries in the GTD class.  Turner had an October test at Sebring with the car and will take delivery of its twin M6 models in December.

Third, Corvette Racing is adding some deep talent to its enduro driver line ups in the form of Marcel Fassler and Mike Rockenfeller.  Both are more recently known for success with Audi, so it is a little surprising that they haven’t ended up in Audi GTD entries if they were going to spend time in IMSA.  However, Fassler has prior Corvette GT experience and Rockenfeller has run with several times in a Corvette DP.

While not connected to the GT class, Starworks announced that Indycar driver Jack Hawksworth will join the team for the Rolex 24 in their PC class entry. Jack has prior PC experience in 2015 with another team and will be in the car during the test at Daytona to get acquainted with the team.

Want to see some photos and read some other odds and ends from Daytona?  Check out Sportscar365.com for Monday news and notes.  We should expect to see more comprehensive coverage from multiple outlets starting Tuesday.

“722” Mercedes 300 SLR

Excellent story by John Brooks at Driving Line on the iconic Mercedes 300 SLR and, in particular, the car that won the 1955 Mille Miglia in the hands of Stirling Moss and navigator Denis Jenkinson.   The car was displayed at this year’s Techno Classica in Essen, Germany.  The “722” nomenclature comes from the departure time for the car at 7:22am.  As they say, read the whole thing.

The car enjoys a privileged place in the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart.  Perhaps not fine photography, but the photos below from a November 2008 visit to the museum shows 722 nestled among many other iconic cars from Mercedes motorsport history.

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Buying a race car direct from the Mercedes Museum?

With a hat tip to Jalopnik for the pointer, did you know that you can buy a Mercedes directly from the museum?  Did you know that you can by a 1998 Mercedes CLK-LM race car that was used in pre-qualifying at LeMans?  Chassis 001?  Yikes. Of course, the price is available upon request, but you’d probably show up with a bucket full of Euros or Deutschmarks.   The website is Alltime-stars.com and has other cars for sale and more to come.  The cars are varied in their history and condition.  For the Mercedes Benz fan, this may be a site to keep an eye on.  For the auto racing fan, a look at a CLK-LM is a rare treat.  With that, have a look at some favorite photos from the site – there are 53 total photos, so have a look at the rest if you’re interested. Enjoy!

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Still hope for Mercedes in IMSA?

Dragonspeed is still holding out hope of running a Mercedes SLS in the IMSA Rolex 24 race.  They are going to run two cars at the IMSA November test at Daytona while IMSA and Mercedes negotiate to find a way to address IMSA’s manufacturer admission/support fees.

Mercedes plans to attend the November test with a factory GT3, but a debut in January at the Rolex 24 still seems unlikely.  They have interest but no public news of US teams who have actually ordered cars.

With so much interest and so much to gain by having MBZ in IMSA grids, we hope that the parties find a way to get it done.

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May 15, 2015
Nurburgring 24 Hours, MBZ paddock area
Mercedes AMG GT3

Mercedes GT3 racing news – will be at the IMSA November test

Excellent reporting from Marshall Pruett at Racer.com about the Mercedes GT3 program in the United States here.  They expect to have a factory car at the IMSA November test at Daytona, but are prioritizing customers who put in orders first.  They hope to show the car to prospective customers at the test.  At this point, prospects for an appearance at the Rolex 24 in January is uncertain.  Mercedes still needs to navigate IMSA’s “partner” program, but it sounds like production delays and a full order book are more likely to be the culprit if there is no Mercedes on the grid at Daytona.  Mercedes does expect to be on the grid at the Dubai 24 hours.  For those attending the Nurburgring 24 in May, you’re in for a treat with lots of new cars.
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Canon 5D Mark III,  24mm, ISO200, 1/100 sec, f/4
May 16, 2015
Nurburgring 24 hours weekend, Mercedes AMG Display tent
GT3 prototype