Black Swan SLS AMG GT3 In Detail — Incredibly Fascinating Aerodynamic Solutions Under Disguise Mirror Wraps



The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG has long been the oversteer king of Deutschland. We all recall Clarkson cooking many, many sets of tires in his -- and even trying to locate a replacement in rural North Carolina a few years ago.

So how would this car do on the track with that handling attitude and tail-first handling mantra? Well, of course. But only once it spent countless hours in the wind tunnels of Mercedes-Benz.

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For racecars, the engineers' brief on aerodynamics is much easier overall than road-going supercars.

Yes, tons of downforce and Yes: zero lift whatsoever, no matter what it does to MPG or comfort. On most production-car shapes, the lift characteristics are permanent issues due to the huge range of possible speeds the car can travel. But if you know the tracks of the GT3 series, you can optimize for those specific 100MPH-175MPH conditions.

All this grip helps the basically-stock 6.2-liter V8's 520HP deliver a 3.2-second sprint that is nearly a second quicker than the production model could achieve. But more than that: in-gear power to wipe the face of your head.

"What are you looking at? Wipe that face off your head, bitch!"

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--Darla, Dazed and Confused (1993)

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You can also carve out huge pieces of the bodywork, the trunk, and add a surfboard of a wing in back.

SLS AMG GT3 2008 AERO details GIF

The glittering mirror finish helps the eye see only the SLS AMG shape -- until you get up close to a stationary one, that is!

Biggest changes:

-- Reverse hood vent looks at least 1-ft-wide

Black Swan SLS AMG GT3 In Detail -- Incredibly Fascinating Aerodynamic Solutions Under Disguise Mirror Wraps 16

-- Gigantic front fender vents (both atop the wheel shape and behind it: indicating likely diff/oil cooler radiator mounts in there.)

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-- Wheels mounted in-board of bodywork, which looks odd but is cleanest aero treatment

Black Swan SLS AMG GT3 In Detail -- Incredibly Fascinating Aerodynamic Solutions Under Disguise Mirror Wraps 1

-- Side-mounted exhausts = smooth and high undertray for air shaping

-- Giant rear fender cut-outs to relieve back-pressure and vorticize rear diffuser flows

SLS AMG GT3 2008 AERO details GIF 3

SLS AMG GT3 2008 AERO details GIF