Ever since the SLS hits the market in Malaysia, seldom we see the owners drive these beauties out on the open road here in KL. In fact, almost never. And we know for a fact that Malaysians nowadays are stylishly wealthy and have upgraded their taste in cars by the tenfolds over the years. Some were even bold enough to bring in the exotics that you wouldn’t expect of seeing it here in Malaysia. And I kid you not.
So the best bet is, if you really want to see the ultimate version of it, the race track would be the best place to be. Here we have Team Syntium Petronas Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, shot last year during the Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race. It was its debut in 2011 replacing the BMW Z4 and do they have a thing or two with roadsters being their weapon of choice. And like a 50mm bullet it went. You know what they say about the 50mm bullets, if you hear it being shot, you gotta duck and hope it wasn’t meant for your skull.
The SLS was created to replace the SLR as the luxury grand tourer and as the spiritual successor to the 1954 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. Mercedes maintained its long bonnet, the driver sits close to the rear axle and with a short rear, and of course the signature gullwing doors. The road version SLS GT which is the fastest version is available for you and me for that weekend track days. If you can afford it, buy me a black one please, thank you.
It was hard enough to see the Mercedes SLR on the Malaysian soil when it first came out but I know that some Malaysians, maybe not in big numbers, do have bought this monster and kept it locked in their dungeon. Of course there were sightings from friends who claimed to spot them on the highways, clubs, or supermarkets but even with their smart phones, they failed miserably to provide a picture proof to back their claims. And not long enough, the folks in Stuttgart decided to replace the SLR into SLS which many would say, should be the SLC. There goes my wish to the SLR on the road. So do any of you know these acronyms to begin with?
The SLS or Super Leicht Sport or Super Light Sport to those who hates Hitler’s language, is a rather new concept from their familiar Cs, SELs, SLs, the Rs, Ms or even the As. Simply because they are introducing the new car that will become their new icon, so they just go on with the SLS rather than the SLC which is the Super Light Coupe which defines it pretty accurately though. And indeed an icon it became. The marketing boffins did their job so well that the SLS was in view to the public way before it was released to the masses. It was made famous as the new Formula One safety car.
It made to the covers of various glossies and into the most popular racing game on the most popular console game, the Playstation, through the latest GranTurismo game franchise, also not forgetting in the XBox’s Forza as well. Apart from that a new character to the car was created as a robot in the latest Transformer movie, which you’d know if you are a Michael Bay fan, he is pretty selective when it comes to cars that will turn into robots in his movie. Then he made most of you turn to jelly when Rosie Huntington sat her cute arse in it and drives around the SLS with what-his-name dude in that movie.
So you see, the car was everywhere in the media but none to be seen on our roads although we know Mercedes Benz Malaysia did sold quite a number to some wealthy people in the country. But where are they? You know you have to bring out the monster to breathe in some air and fire into those V8 engines in order for it to live long. Die hard supercar fans would love to take pictures with it. All the gorgeous ladies out there would love to be seen in it (you lucky blokes!). And the other supercar owners would love to pit in with it (the not-so lucky blokes).
But lucky us, Team Syntium Petronas had this SLS since last year as their latest endurance machine to race in many of their brand specific races, which quite a number being held in Sepang International Circuit. That is the only way us Malaysians get to see, touch, hear, feel how this sexy looking race car moves, overtakes, wheel burn-outs, spit fires, glowing disc brakes and not to mention that glorious eight-cylinder aural bliss. Only on the track, that is for now.
So there is no doubt that Dato’ David Wong, the team founder and principle of Team Syntium Petronas, chose the best car to replace the BMW Z4 apart from all the Audi R8s, the Porsches, Ferraris or even the McLarens available for the GT3 specified races. The replacement is indeed to have a faster and most importantly reliable car therefore their aim is to be on the podium at most races. And since Petronas association with the AMG Petronas Team in the formula one series, the upgrade is certain. When it was announced last year that Team Syntium Petronas will be using the new SLS in the 2011 MMER, it shock the grounds beneath the other teams as it will be team worth racing with. And it did well as the endurance GT car. It proved well last year and we shall see it if they could hold the fort this year.
You can read on the spec sheet on what this car consist of in winning the podium on last year’s Merdeka Millenium Endurance race, together with their superb performance in the Super Taikyu race series in Japan. The list is long and it shows that this is the perfect car a race team can have to boost themselves in the ranks and performance. But of course, you need to have the usual basics in having a good race team, the drivers, the crews, the support in technical and financials, the works. For me, I just love to see it on the road amongst other cars for the SLS is truly the most beautiful car to own, a collector’s item, a rare gem and a fast one too. So if you have one or know anybody that owns a piece of this mechanical marvel, do take it out for a spin. Show it off. Let everyone know that you have it. Drive to functions and events. It doesn’t deserve to be sitting pretty in the garage. Like Team Syntium Petronas’ SLS AMG GT3s, it deserved to be in the race pit. Sitting pretty.
words: Jeo pix: Damion Chee