Yet another McLaren Mercedes special edition SLR?
It’s another special edition, but it's nothing to do with Mercedes, apparently. Northamptonshire-based RML (Ray Mallock Ltd) have tweaked the SLR for rich racing enthusiasts. Don't fret, they've got some pedigree. In 2007 RML ran the Chevrolet WTCC teams, competed in the ALMS, and at Le Mans, and in the past ran they also ran Nissan's BTCC team. Compared to the standard SLR 722, RML claim to have ‘uniquely and comprehensively re-engineered’ the car, with over 400 changes being made.
So what are these changes?
The headline figure is of course the power, and the supercharged Merc 5.5-litre V8 now puts out 671bhp thanks to a new exhaust and air filter. However, that’s only up 21bhp, and torque is up a measly 7lb ft. The fuss, therefore, is all about the loss of 334kg. That’s right, 334kg! RML have stripped out all the weight that Gordon Murray was so adverse to see Mercedes put in, and now the SLR 722 GT weighs 1390kg, 5kg less than a 911 GT3.
What about the SLR 722 GT's fancy new bodykit?
The SLR GT gets a new front splitter, wider wings and side skirts, a huge rear diffuser, and that rather large and obvious fixed wing. Overall downforce is up, but so is drag, so the top speed drops from 210mph to 197mph. Apparently ‘fast lap times are guaranteed'. The suspension is adjustable, and lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels with central locks for quick changes complete the external makeover, though what you can’t see is the pneumatic jack system to make tyres changes even quicker. Hidden behind the lightweight wheels are new brakes, which meet the FIA GT series regulations. Hopefully they’ll provide some more feel than the standard car’s off-ON brakes…
Exactly what Mercedes never planned for the SLR. Their ideal was a big touring GT. This is anything but. There's a very big rollcage, racing buckets with six-point harnesses, and a new instrument cluster and steering wheel. All very un-Mercedes.
So when can I get one?
Only 21 are going to be built, and they're not being homologated for road use. According to RML, all the orders it's had so far have been from existing SLR owners. But at least this is a venture by RML, and thankfully Mercedes have not taken the much-maligned route Ferrari have with the FXX. No word yet on price, but if you have to ask you’re probably too sensible to want one.