Geneva Motor Show: Mercedes-AMG GT GT3 revealed

It turns out you can't keep a good engine down.

Just when we thought that the arrival of AMG's new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 had spelled the end for the legendary 6.2-litre M159 atmo V8, it's confirmed the engine will live on in the Mercedes-AMG GT GT3.

It was expected that the GT3 version of AMG's new GT supercar would share the road-going model's boosted 4.0-litre engine, but AMG has decided to stick with the tried-and-tested naturally-aspirated unit, saying it's cheap to run, reliable and easy to maintain – by race car standards at least.

Smaller and lighter than the SLS it succeeds, the GT GT3 also pays homage to Mercedes' racing past, its heavily slatted grille a copy of that fitted to the 300SL racer from 1952.

The GT GT3 will make its race debut in 2016, with the SLS GT3's long and successful race career, which includes wins at the Bathurst 12-Hour, Dubai 24-Hour and Nurburgring 24-Hour, drawing to a close this year.

In the meantime, the GT GT3 is currently undergoing an extensive development program, with five-time DTM champion and Mercedes GT factory driver Bernd Schneider handling much of the early running.

Speaking to MOTOR at the launch of the new Mercedes-AMG C63, Schneider said that reducing the GT GT3's weight was the highest priority, with the target being 1260kg to both improve performance and increase tyre longevity for the GT championship's flagship endurance races.

The GT GT3 will face stiff competition, with existing entrants Bentley, Nissan, McLaren and Ferrari being joined later this year by Audi's new R8 LMS and Lamborghini's first ever factory racecar, the Huracan GT3.

Now, AMG, get to work on the road-car version.

Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!

Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!