Boom! Another Nürburgring record falls to the power of the Mercedes-AMG. And this record deserves special attention for several reasons. Firstly, this is an absolute lap record for production cars. Nothing with a license plate went faster than that. Secondly, Mercedes-AMG did it with a car with front engine . Demonstrating yet again that tons of horsepower can overcome a range of handling issues.
Front vs mid engine
It is a well-known fact in the field of engineering and physics that mid-engined cars are faster than front- or rear-engined cars. I could go into more detail as to why, but to save time, let's remember that even Chevy has finally debuted its mid-engined Corvette after years of rumors. The thing is, Mercedes-AMG went out and set a production car record at the Nürburgring by introducing a factory version of their hot-rod GT, called the almost unimaginably Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.
They had to do it with something, and since Mercedes-Benz doesn't even make mid-engined road cars, their Mercedes-AMG GT version was a good starting point.
Mercedes-AMG GT Black series. Photo: MBUSA.
Specifications Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series
- Engine: 4.0 liter biturbo V8
- Working volume : 3,982 cu.
- Power: 720 (6700–6900 rpm)
- Torque: 590 lb-ft. (2000-6000 rpm)
- Drive system: rear drive
- Transmission: 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT
- Zero to 60: 3.1 seconds
- Max speed: 202
- Initial MSRP : $325,000 plus $1,050 for destination and shipping.
Hard tablet to swallow?
The Mercedes-AMG car baffled was a factory Lamborghini Aventador hot rod, which is definitely a mid-engine. This should either please or annoy the guys in Sant'Agata to no end. It should be like LeBron James losing to a rookie in a shootout or a three-point shooting competition. If you're a star like King James, you might respect the newcomer who takes your crown, but it can also be hard to swallow.
Given LeBron's sheer physical stature, some players from the opposing teams are having to work, so to speak, due to the "engineering deficit" that Mercedes-AMG faced here against Lamborghini.
What did Mercedes-AMG do?
To overcome the technical deficit, Mercedes-AMG hired GT3 driver Maro Engel. He completed the big lap (12.944 miles in total) in 6:43.616, which is very fast for something with air conditioning and a stereo. His Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series, though stock, was packed with F1 technology and put out an impressive 720 horsepower. That power on the tarmac was aided by an adjustable carbon fiber front splitter and lower and upper rear spoiler vanes. The carbon fiber front splitter has been extended to the "Race" position, while the lower and upper rear spoiler vanes have been adjusted to the middle position.
“An AMG GT Black Series up to almost 168 mph on the Kesselchen section and over 186 mph on the long straight Döttinger Höhe,” Engel explained after his record lap. “Like my GT3 racing car, the AMG GT Black Series offers a wealth of adjustment options, all of which have allowed me to create a setup that is tailor-made for me.”
AMG's coilover suspension with adaptive damping also helped the GT Black Series topple the Aventador. It was lowered 0.2" front and 0.1" rear. In addition, the carbon fiber hood includes two large exhaust vents that channel warm air from a sloped radiator out of the engine bay.
They increased the camber (the good old AutoX trick!) to negative 3.8 degrees on the front axle and negative 3.0 degrees on the rear. The adjustable anti-roll bars were set to the stiffest of the three possible settings. I bet the tires were taken off after two laps, if not one and a half! These were Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R MO tires with a "soft compound". These are standard car skins, they stick like glue, but they cost a fortune. Braking is handled via the stock AMG ceramic system.
Pilot Maro Engel with Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series. Photo: MBUSA.
Other similar mileage
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S recently set a record lap time at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Just as they were for AMG development engineer Demian Schaffert, who piloted the GT 63 S, the weather conditions during Engel's run were not very good. However, the 35-year-old driver appeared to be unharmed.
“I take my hat off to the developers from Affalterbach for what they put on wheels here,” Engel said. “And I am very pleased that I was able to demonstrate these fascinating engineering skills with such excellent lap times.”
And I can't argue with that much. Of course you know who could argue with it? Porsche. Or a Ferrari. Or a Lamborghini. Okay guys. Return to the drawing board. You have a lot of work to do in the long winter ahead.
Tony Borroz has been racing vintage and sports cars all his life. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of the Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.
Full video of the record lap
Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series Gallery
Photo and source: MBUSA.