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our pulses racing with such extreme intensity as the 670-hp Ferrari in the previous Supertest. At first we had to get used to the 488 GTB’s massive propulsion on the Nordschleife. In the Mercedes-AMG GT R you feel good from the very first punch of the gas on the Quiddelbacher Höhe. The Mercedes- AMG GT R is well engineered, not over-engineered. Two right turns and we arrive at the Flugplatz section of the track. For the first time you can feel the optimized aerodynamics. The Mercedes-AMG GT R effortlessly sweeps through this stretch of the Nordschleife more than 10 km/h faster than the Mercedes-AMG GT S. It isn’t just the extra aerodynamic refinement that leaves a positive first impression here but also the retuned steering. Around the center position the rack-and-pinion steering with hydraulic assistance on the Mercedes- AMG GT R responds with precision but no longer quite so sharply as in the Mercedes-AMG GT S. Along with the redesigned AMG RIDE CONTROL Sports Suspension with threaded components and three-way- adjustable adaptive shock absorbers (on the Nordschleife, our shock absorbers are in “Sport Plus” mode) as well as spherical pivot bearings on the lower transverse arms of the rear axle, the active rear-axle steering that Mercedes- AMG is implementing for the first time contributes to the vehicle’s high stability. Similar to the rear-axle steering systems used in various competitive models, the conventional track rods on the rear axle of the Mercedes-AMG GT R have been replaced by two steering actuators, which, depending on the speed, turn the rear wheels with or against the direction of the front axle. Taken as a whole, the direct steering of the front axle and the level of grip on the rear axle are in perfect alignment on the Mercedes-AMG GT R. Owing to the modifications to the suspension and the redesigned sports tires, the Mercedes-AMG GT R offers significantly increased mechanical grip compared to the Mercedes-AMG GT S. Especially in the slower downhill stretches after Metzgesfeld to Wehrseifen, as well as from Hohe Acht to the Brünnchen, the rear axle adheres close ing acceleration can be adjusted by using the rotary knob. With this system, you definitely no longer need to worry that the rear will slide under load. The optional AMG Ceramic High-Performance Composite Braking System wins you over not only with its stopping power but also with the ABS being so well attuned to the AMG track tires. It’s unbelievable how late you can brake with the Mercedes-AMG GT R. Thanks to the traditional 2D data recording device with on-board measurement technology of Race Navigator, including live timing, you become more and more aware that the Mercedes- AMG GT R is currently on the way to creating a sensation. On the Döttinger Höhe, you suddenly experience the feeling that Andy Brehme must have had at the penalty spot during the World Cup final in 1990. If you make it, great. If you miss, you’re the... well, just don’t think about missing. We’re now going 294, 299, 295, 296 km/h, we turn, full throttle through the high-speed left toward the bridge at the Antoniusbuche, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302 km/h — and brake at the Tiergarten dip. Six curves later, at exactly 7’10.92”, the Mercedes-AMG GT R races across the finish line at track section T13. Even rounded up to 7’11”, the extreme sports car from Mercedes-AMG lands in front of the previous top spot on sport auto’s list of best lap times on the Nordschleife. The Mercedes-AMG GT R has overtaken nothing less than the Porsche 918 Spyder, the 887-hp hybrid super sports car in which my Supertest predecessor circled the Nordschleife in 7’13” (sport auto June, 2014). The official lap record of 6’57” set by the full-blooded professional Marc Lieb in the 918 remains, however. But today the praise goes to others: Congratulations to Mercedes-AMG for this masterful performance! to the racing line. No unwanted sideslips or noticeable sensitivity to load changes cause any uncertainty. On the contrary, on these slower sections of the track, the Mercedes-AMG GT R imparts more confidence at the outer performance threshold than any other sports car before it. Accordingly, the sports car makes up a lot of time here. Even on the fast sections of track, you can trust the Mercedes-AMG GT R. It races full bore at 277 km/h over the crest of the Schwedenkreuz. As it does so, the Mercedes-AMG GT R experiences brief and uniform shock absorber travel, only to then quickly reposition itself without becoming jumpy — exactly like it needs to do at this point. You can also “sit” for a surprisingly long time in the Kesselchen, and subjectively longer than with all other sports cars. Thanks to its very good combination of aerodynamics and mechanical grip, the Mercedes-AMG GT R takes the Kesselchen’s ultra-fast right–left combo and the powerful undulations at the end at remarkable speed. The traction control experiences its moment of truth in the subsequent Mutkurve (“curve of courage”). In this curve, a peculiar kind of fantasy always springs forth in your imagination: If you fly out of it, they’ll never find you again in the forest. The traction control set to level four doesn’t have much to do in the Mutkurve, but this racing lifeline will at least boost the driver’s self-confidence. The TRACTION CONTROL LED flashes briefly only twice, at the curve’s apex and the exit. At 179 km/h, the Mercedes-AMG GT R charges faster and with more assured traction through the Mutkurve than any other sports car has before on a lap recorded by sport auto. The Porsche 918 Spyder did so at 174 km/h, the Gumpert Apollo at 174 km/h and the Ferrari 488 GTB at 173 km/h. The intervention of the traction control set to level four is barely noticeable on the Nordschleife. Only when accelerating aggressively out of the Adenauer Forst, as the rear pushes downward under the load, do you notice a gentle AMG TRACTION CONTROL intervention. On the whole, the traction control is very delicate. Depending on the driver’s preference, the side-slip angle dur from: sport auto 1/2017 127


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