First introduced in 2016, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is now one of the oldest models in circulation in GT3 racing, having recently completed seven years in service.
Although it received an Evo update in 2020 and continues to pull in new orders, a new Mercedes GT3 car has been overdue for some time.
While some other manufacturers have extended the life cycle of their GT3 contenders by introducing a second facelift, Mercedes will stay away from this philosophy and is putting all its resources on building an entirely new car for 2026.
Information about Mercedes’ next-gen GT3 car is sparse at the moment, but the German marque is keen to extend its tenure in customer racing.
“We are working hard on the concepts, the design, the specifications, and we know what we want,” Mercedes’ DTM boss Thomas Jager told Motorsport.com’s sister title Motorsport-Total.com.
“It is clear that we will definitely continue customer racing with a new vehicle.
“The plan is that we will still be driving the current car in 2024 and 2025. Then we’ll see what’s possible in 2026. There’s a development timeline and a plan. We’ll find out how this can be implemented in the next few weeks.
“The goal is definitely to have cars on the road by 2026.”
#77 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: Lucas Auer, Lorenzo Ferrari, Frankie Bird, #99 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: Maro Engel, Luca Stolz, Mikael Grenier
Photo by: SRO
In the middle of last year, Mercedes’s high-performance AMG division revealed the second-generation version of its flagship sportscar with a view to launching it around the world in 2024.
The new car, christened Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe, is likely to form the basis of its next GT3 racer.
According to Jager, who also works as a development driver for Mercedes, the AMG GT Coupe will spawn “a new generation of vehicles and the GT3 successor will also be visually oriented towards this.”
However, the aim will be to retain several qualities of the current GT3 model, which has enjoyed immense success in a wide variety of championships around the world and is suited to both professional and amateur drivers.
“This concerns the very good production quality, gap dimensions and the look, that it looks more like a production car than a racing car,” he explained. “It will have to be user-friendly – long running time and low operating costs.
“The car must be very performant and consistent, whether wet or dry, cold or hot, qualifying or long runs. We have very low tyre wear. That is also a very important point.
“Driveability with which we have made a great name for ourselves [is also important].
“That’s why the gentlemen drivers say that this is the ideal product for them – the new car has to be able to do the same.
“We also want to continue to play a pioneering role when it comes to safety. We want to be the benchmark and introduce pioneering concepts.
“If we build on these strengths and do a bit of fine-tuning everywhere and combine that with a new look, new electronics and new safety features, then we’ll have another great product at the start.”
Switch to turbo engine
Although Jager refused to reveal the exact specification of the engine that will feature at the heart of Mercedes’ new GT3 car, he did say the plan is to incorporate a turbo-powered motor.
That doesn’t come as a surprise, as the 6.2-litre naturally-aspirated engine that does duty in the current AMG GT3 was never used in the production version of the car and is no longer up to date with the current times.
As such, it is likely that Mercedes will switch to a four-litre bi-turbo V8, the same engine that also powers the AMG GT4.
Interestingly, there remains a possibility that HWA will not be involved in the development of Mercedes’ next-gen GT3 vehicle.
Since it was established in 1998, HWA has played a role in several of Mercedes’ factory programmes, from Formula E to DTM.
In addition, from the introduction of the SLS Gullwing in 2011, all Mercedes customer cars have been developed and produced by HWA. That includes 600 vehicles in total, 300 of which are still in use.
Asked if HWA would again play a role in the design and production of Mercedes’ next GT3 car, Jager said: “When you plan a big project like this, there’s a tendering process. You look at different things.
“There is no final decision yet as to who it will ultimately be. We will communicate that as the whole thing unfolds.
“HWA has done a very good job with us in the past. The after-sales system is definitely continuing with HWA at the moment.”
Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team Landgraf Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz