What is it?
With no more power than the Mercedes-AMG GT R and the same Michelin Cup 2 tyres, the new AMG GT R Pro is around seven seconds a lap faster around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. It registered a time of 7min 4.6secs late last year, making it one of the fastest front-engined road cars ever to lap the wriggly 13-mile circuit.
How? It’s all down the revised aero and suspension setup, as well as a modest weight saving. Mercedes-AMG doesn’t quote any exact downforce figures but that prominent front spitter, dive planes ahead of the front wheels, Porsche 911 GT3 RS-style vents in the wheel arches, a bigger rear wing, a Gurney flap and various other wings and flicks reduce aerodynamic lift, keeping the car pressed into the surface of the track at speed.
The suspension has been completely overhauled as well. The new coilovers are manually adjustable - for high- and low-speed compression at the front, plus rebound at both ends - as is the ride height. The anti-roll bars are both adjustable as well (the bar at the front is made of carbon fibre to trim away 3.3kg), while the upper rear wishbones are now attached to the body by uniball bearings that have no play in them whatsoever (only the lower wishbones use uniballs on the GT R).
There’s much more to the GT R Pro than that. It has a carbon fibre sheer panel attached to its underside, for instance, that actually increases the body’s torsional rigidity by as much as eight per cent. Lightweight bucket seats remove another 3.6kg between them, the wheels and ceramic brakes are all lightweight items and the dynamic engine and transmission mounts - which tighten up when driving on circuit to reduce inertia - have been retuned. Those weight saving measures remove something like 40kg, although the AMG Track package (standard-fit in Europe) adds in a roll cage, fire extinguisher and four-point harnesses, so the actual saving is closer to 25kg.
The AMG GT R Pro is the road-legal sum of Mercedes-AMG’s expertise in production-based motorsport. It exists for one purpose only: so that a small number of rather well-heeled owners can drive it to a trackday, spend many joyful hours lapping the circuit and fiddling with damper clicks between sessions, then drive home again at the end of the day. This is a car that really should be used as intended, and not left to gather dust in a climate controlled lock-up somewhere.