Reflecting its track focus, the GT R receives a number of functional aerodynamic upgrades aimed at improving airflow to and from the engine bay, as well as increasing the downforce acting on the front and rear axles for improved stability and cornering speeds.
The GT R has a new front bumper that features a prominent splitter element, along with an enlarged central air duct and altered secondary ducts on each side.
These are joined by a modified duct within the trailing edge of the long front wings, wider rear wings and a boot-mounted carbonfibre rear wing. In addition, there is a new rear bumper that houses a horizontal air duct to extract hot air from the rear differential, a large hexagonal-shaped central exhaust and a reworked dual-channel diffuser.
However, the most distinctive stylistic change is the adoption of what Mercedes-AMG officials describe as a new Panamericana grille originally unveiled on the track-only GT3 race car late last year.
Inspired by the grille treatment of Mercedes-Benz’s 1952 SL Panamericana race car, it features an altered shape along with 15 vertical slats among the familiar three-pointed star emblem. The effect is to give the GT R a more instantly aggressive presence than the standard GT.
According to a leading member of the Mercedes-Benz design team, the new grille is set to become a signature element of future AMG models, replacing the blade-style treatment of today’s models.
As part of efforts to reduce the kerb weight of the GT R below the 1570kg of the GT S, its bonnet, wings and bootlid are made from carbonfibre. Although the GT R has yet to undergo certification at the hands of the German Transport Authority, AMG insiders hint that weight has dropped by up to 60kg, suggesting it will hit the scales at around 1520kg in production trim.
By comparison, the smaller but less powerful 911 GT3 RS has a kerb weight of 1420kg.
The weight-saving touches continue inside, with the GT R sporting a lightly reworked version of the standard GT S’s dashboard and manually operated seats, among other changes.
Mercedes-AMG’s latest model is powered by a more heavily tuned version of the GT and GT S’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine. New performance-enhancing features include a revised inlet manifold, extra boost pressure and a more free-flowing titanium exhaust system.
Details remains scarce ahead of the new model’s unveiling this summer, but sources close to Mercedes-Benz’s performance car division say the M178- designated V8 will pack in the region of 425kW. This equates to 570bhp, which would give the new GT R at least 60bhp more than the GT S.