Mercedes AMGs GT3 has won its first round at the Nurburgring 24 Hours for the first time since 2016, a feat that is expected to give the German manufacturer a strong start to the season.
The new car is set to start its first laps at 2:40pm local time (6:40am GMT) on Saturday, while its new engine, a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V6, is expected in the morning to run alongside the new car.
Mercedes has had a number of upgrades in the past two seasons, with its car making the switch to a twin turbocharged V6 in 2017, which was replaced by a turbocharged twin-clutch unit in 2018.
In a move to help the new engine to compete at the highest level, Mercedes has been testing the engine with the engineers at the Technical Centre, which has developed an automatic transmission for the GT3.
We are looking forward the new season with the full support of the Technical Center, which is leading this evolution of the GT-R.
The team has already demonstrated a range of technologies, from the new supercharger to the superchargers, so it is very important to take all the right measures to make sure the car is as competitive as possible.
This is a new challenge for Mercedes, with the car having a high-performance edge that has not been achieved before.
It is also the first test of the new MG technology that was introduced in 2018 and is designed to improve the efficiency of the car’s powertrain.
Despite the new-look car, Mercedes still remains the biggest contender, with more than 70 points separating the top two teams.
The three cars in the GT2 class – Porsche 919 Hybrid, Renault RS 17 Hybrid and BMW M3 – all have a strong advantage over the new GT3, which will be able to push around the field.
In the GT1 class, the Audi RS3 and Renault LMP1 are the only GT3 cars to have not yet been officially confirmed.
The two cars in GT1 are set to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017 and will compete alongside the Mercedes GT3 and Porsche 918 Hybrid.
While the first round of the 24-hour race was held in October, the team is now preparing for the 2018 season.
Mercedes is expected start the season with a three-car car in the 2018 LMP2 class, while the team will also start a four-car entry in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.