The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship gained some new faces when the GTD class adopted FIA GT3-spec regulations this year, and the 2017 season will have even more variety with the addition of the Mercedes-AMG GT3. The German automaker announced today that it’s partnering with Team Riley Motorsports and running two factory-backed GT3s next year.
The team will campaign two race cars based on the AMG GT S in the GTD class, one flying the AMG-Team Riley Motorsports banner and another wearing WeatherTech Racing colors. The AMG-Team Riley Motorsports car will receive “extended AMG assistance.” It’s not clear how much factory support the other car will get. Team Riley Motorsports will be just one of many GTD teams running the AMG GT3, with several outfits, including SunEnergy1 Racing, participating in the Mercedes-AMG Customer Sports Program. Other customer teams are set to announce plans to race AMG cars as the 2017 season draws closer. Mercedes-AMG will be on-site at each race on the 2017 calendar to provide technical assistance to all customer teams.
Unlike the AMG GT S, the GT3 is powered by the same naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V-8 used in the previous SLS GT3. Exact power specs are unknown, but GT3-spec cars typically make more than 500 hp. The car is also roughly 800 pounds lighter than its road-going counterpart. AMG GT3 race cars finished 1-2-3-4 at this year’s 24 Hours of the Nürburgring.