The science behind going fast.
Last November, Mercedes-AMG dropped a bombshell on the motoring world. Its AMG GT Black Series set a new production car lap record at arguably the most prominent location in the world for such achievements, the 12.8-mile Nordschleife loop at the Nürburgring. It's a bombshell because the mighty Merc carries its engine in front driving just the rear wheels – a configuration completely different from previous record-holding machines.
In its announcement regarding the record, Mercedes-AMG offered details on the various suspension settings used for the record-setting lap. The new GT Black Series offers a plethora of adjustable components for the suspension and aerodynamics that are part of the factory stock package, but this new video from Mercedes Benz shares some additional behind-the-scenes gossip that contributed to the blistering 6:43.61 Nordschleife lap.
For starters, we know the Black Series runs Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R rubber, but they aren't the same tyres you can order for your car. Michelin created two sets specifically for the Black Series, and while the video doesn't explain precisely what's different about them, compound mixtures are part of the witchcraft. From the factory, the car is fitted with softer Cup 2 R Mercedes Original (MO) tyres, designed for cooler climates. They heat up quickly and hold heat better, but they also wear quicker. Black Series owners can also purchase a set of Cup 2 R MO tyres with a harder compound, which is better suited for warmer conditions.
Tyres obviously make a huge difference in track performance, but aerodynamics do as well. The front splitter can be manually extended for track use, adding more bite for the front tyres at speed. At the rear, the car's dual-plane spoiler is adjustable to three settings. These components were obviously dialled in for the record run, along with wheel camber, toe, ride height, and other suspension-related settings.
As for the record run, the day started with several warm-up laps for AMG racing driver Maro Engel. Dialling in the car and getting a feel for the Merc's nuances were paramount, but apparently, weather had also been an issue. Most of the day was spent waiting for the track to dry out, and there were still some damp spots when the record attempt was made. If anything, that makes this lap even more impressive.
The 6:43 lap barely tops the previous record-setting machine, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. With 720 bhp (537 kilowatts) from its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, one can't help but think there could be more capability in the Black Series waiting to be unlocked.