Already populated by marques like BMW and Porsche, the FIA's ultracompetitive GT3 category comprised of track-only variations of high-performance street machines just got one more most-impressive entrant. Although production of customer cars won't begin until this fall, the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 promises to be a very serious player that matches its riveting looks with AMG's race-proven pedigree on a level that far exceeds even the standard SLS AMG street model.

"Thanks to uncompromising lightweight construction and superior handling dynamics, the SLS AMG provides an outstanding basis for a highly competitive racing car. This exciting GT3 version is our response to strong customer demand for a car designed for these attractive motor sports series. Once again, it demonstrates AMG's huge experience gained in more than 40 years of motorsports, and its great expertise in the development of unique high-performance cars," said Volker Mornhinweg, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH at the SLS AMG GT3's reveal earlier today.

Spiritual successor to M-B's original 1952 "Gullwing" 300 SL, the new SLS AMG GT3 packs a naturally aspirated AMG 6.3-liter V8 with dry-sump lubrication linked to a six-speed sequential-shift rear-mounted transaxle. However, engine output -- as well as the car's overall race weight -- won't be determined until the FIA finalizes its competitive "parity formula" for 2011. The SLS AMG GT3's lightweight bodywork benefits from a full aero reworking that brings wider and slicker fenders, new front/rear splitter/diffuser elements and an adjustable rear airfoil as well as quick-fueling filler inlets in its C-pillar. Inside, the minimal yet well-finished cabin boasts a full steel rollcage, racing buckets with a six-point harness and HANS (Head and Neck Support) device and an open-top steering wheel with paddle shifters. No word yet on pricing for the SLS AMG GT3; but if you really have to ask, it's likely out of your league.

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