Mercedes-Benz has a long history with the world famous race, 24 Hours of Spa. The brands first appearance at the race was back in 1971, when they entered the race with a luxury sedan. But this was no ordinary luxury sedan. This was a 300 SEL 6.3, one of the most famous cars in automobile history. AMG, who at the time was a separate entity from Mercedes-Benz like RUF is a separate entity from Porsche, took a 300 SEL 6.3 complete with wood dash and carpeted floors, bored out the M100 6.3L V8 to 6.8L and boosted power to 428hp and 448 lb-ft of torque.
With a top speed of 164mph, the 300SEL 6.8 AMG won a class victory and placed second overall during the 1971 24 Hours of Spa. And Mercedes-Benz is back again to compete at this year’s 24 Hours of Spa with their latest weapon: the SLS AMG GT3.
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Marking the 40th anniversary to Mercedes-Benz’s first entry into the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps, which is in its 64th year, the SLS AMG GT3 is decked out in the same livery as the original 300 SEL 6.8 AMG. The SLS AMG GT3 will be driven by Kenneth Heyer, son to Hans Heyer who piloted the original 300 SEL 6.8 AMG back in 1971.
“It’s a great honour, exactly 40 years after my father’s success, for me to be bringing the Black Falcon SLS AMG GT3 to the starting line of the 24-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps,” said Kenneth Heyer in a press conference. “The car will no doubt attract plenty of attention in the line-up with its look reminiscent of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG, but naturally the focus will be on a good racing performance. The SLS AMG GT3 has the potential for a place on the winner’s rostrum, but as we all know, a 24-hour race obeys laws of its own.”
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 with 300 SEL 6.8 AMG:
– By: Chris Chin