With the long-delayed, F1-derived Project One hypercar still in the wings, the AMG GT R is on top of the Mercedes-AMG food chain and the de facto beneficiary of Benz’s latest learnings from the racetrack. Enter the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT Pro, the most AMG of AMGs — at least until the inevitable Black Series version bows.
The GT Pro is a serious track weapon. There’s no overlooking the meaner visual cues: a longer front splitter braced by small metal rods and flanked by flics (those small winglets at the front corners of the fender); slotted front wheel arches for increased downforce; a carbon roof with a slight double bubble profile; and a beefier, fixed rear spoiler mounted on slick milled aluminum brackets.
But what really matters on track is underneath. The 577-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0 liter V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch remain unaltered, as does its bass-heavy boom spilling from the tail with a palpable pulse. What sets the GT Pro apart is a series of stiffening, sharpening and refining measures.
The underside gets a carbon fiber shear panel, a structural reinforcement that stiffens up the rear end for added stability. Retuned dynamic engine and transmission mounts yield a more direct feeling between powertrain and chassis. Further sharpening the handling are details like uniball spherical bearings at the upper rear axle wishbones (the GT R only has the stiffer setup on the lowers), which significantly limit toe-in and camber play for more buttoned-down body control at the limit. New coilovers are two-way adjustable, while trick carbon fiber roll bars (with a hollow design at the rear) round out the suspension upgrades.
It was cold and wet during my track time at the Hockenheim Grand Prix circuit, but I learned quite a bit about the Pro’s refinements. Climb into the cabin and, at least in the European model on hand, a roll cage, fixed bucket seats, and four-point racing harnesses greet you like a proper race car.
A few upgraded interior items gracing all 2020 GT models include new TFT mode-setting buttons on the steering wheel and a big 10.25-inch multimedia screen alongside a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster for an added bit of techy modernity. But the GT R’s cabin ergonomics are certainly not for everyone. From the massive transmission tunnel to the awkward backwards reach required to click into ‘Drive,’ the AMG GT R has a lot of form follows function going on. The shifter’s positioning is so weird I found it easier to shift into D with my elbow.