The GLK Rally Racer is king of the hill
Inspired by the winged, unlimited-class rally cars of the famed Pikes Peak Hill Climb, RENNtech set about creating a GLK that could master the pack and leave the rest chewing gravel. But this wild GLK has a few surprises beneath its menacing exterior.
Hybrid powertrains are generally associated with fuel efficiency and lower emissions. However, RENNtech has taken one more benefit of the hybrid principle to turn the GLK into a formidable performer.
By combining an electric motor in parallel with the 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine, RENNtech has been able to capture the impressive torque that characterizes electric motor drives, adding 40 lb-ft to enhance the GLK's performance off-the-line and out of corners. Úsing a hybrid drive in a hill climb setting has the added advantage of maintaining thrust at higher altitudes, when internal combustion engines - which depend on ambient air - start to wheeze.
The specialist Mercedes tuning company has also worked its magic on the base 3.5-liter V6 unit, using components from the latest Mercedes-Benz high-performance 3.5-liter V6 Sport engine found in the 2009 MY SLK350. These include a special intake manifold, cams and cylinder heads, to which RENNtech has added its own long-tube headers, composite air intake and RENNtech ECÚ software. Engine output is up to approximately 350 hp, augmented further by the electric motor from the hybrid drive.
The additional 72 volt drive is run by 12 volt plug-in batteries. RENNtech is currently working on a nickel-hydride solution with regenerative charging for additional range.
'The GLK Rally Racer Hybrid is a fully-functioning test bed,' explains Hartmut Feyhl, founder and President of RENNtech. 'We will use this vehicle as a proof-of-concept, which we will develop and enhance throughout next year.'
'With the Rally Racer, we have really increased the car's performance,' continues Feyhl. 'Together with the more aggressive, sporting look, we have created a powerful and exciting package.'
It is also worth noting that, despite the performance enhancements, RENNtech has succeeded in improving the fuel economy of the Rally Racer compared with the original version, 'proving that high performance and efficiency can coexist,' adds Feyhl.
Bearing in mind that the Rally Racer is built for speed on tough terrain, RENNtech opted to forego creature comforts, cutting the weight of the standard GLK by removing most of the sound insulation and replacing the Mercedes-Benz seats with lightweight carbon-fiber buckets. Engineers also fitted a full roll cage and moved several components towards the rear of the vehicle to create an almost perfect 50:50 front/rear weight distribution for improved handling on tight, demanding rally stages.
Another significant handling modification comes from the custom coil-over suspension. Made to RENNtech specifications by suspension supplier KW, the package allows for adjustments in height, rake, damping rate, camber and toe-in.
Extra stopping power is provided for the Rally Racer courtesy of an in-house RENNtech brake combo featuring massive 16.2-inch 2-piece rotors with 8-piston calipers at the front, and 14-inch discs grabbed by 4-pot calipers at the rear.
Lightweight 20-inch 3-piece, 5-spoke RENNtech wheels in a 'Sniper Gray' anthracite finish, clad in NT05 275/40 20 Nitto rubber at the front and NT05 315/35 20 at the rear, fill the prominent fender flares that underscore this GLK's performance potential.
Although extensive exterior revisions were made to accommodate the larger wheels and brakes and to widen the track, the focus of bodyshell modifications was enhanced aerodynamic efficiency. RENNtech used the latest in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software to develop the package. The front splitter, rear diffuser and lower side skirts help direct airflow underneath the GLK Rally Racer to reduce drag and produce added downforce, while improving high speed stability at the rear. The rear wing elements also serve an important aerodynamic purpose and add emphasis to the aggressive edginess of the original GLK design. From a visual perspective, RENNtech engineers successfully melded their aerodynamic modifications with the flared fenders to create a powerful side line that highlights the dynamic thrust of the Rally Racer.
'The GLK was a great starting point for this project,' says Hartmut Feyhl, 'It has excellent underpinnings for performance tuning and I think the overall look really suits it.'
'The GLK gave us a great deal of scope for bringing together form and function. For the RENNtech GLK, performance may have been the primary goal, but it also looks the part,' he adds.Source - Mercedes-Benz
MERCEDES-BENZ REVEALS FOUR TUNED GLKS
In late April, Mercedes-Benz announced a tuning competition based on the new GLK-Class, which is set to launch in January 2009. Four companies were selected for the challenge. The companies inputted their own ideas and design into the GLK and the results will be revealed at this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.Design concepts include:The Úrban Whip
– Florida-based Boulevard Customs is sure to turn heads with this topless version of the GLK, with a wide body styling kit, massive 26-inch wheels and tires, redesigned interior and ground-pounding stereo system.BRABÚS Widestar
– Developed by Mercedes-Benz tuning experts Brabus of Bottrop, Germany, this striking wide-track 'designer suit' for the GLK includes a reworked V6 diesel engine based on the 320 BlueTEC engine, flowing front and rear wheel arch flares and redesigned front and rear bumpers complemented with exclusive BRABÚS wheels and an interior to match.The Rock Crawler
– Exotic and muscle car restoration specialist Legendary Motor Cars design includes an innovative winching system to propel skate and wakeboarders up to speed and actually 'grind' down the vehicle's specially integrated side rails.RENNTech Rally Racer
– Inspired by the unlimited-class rally cars at the storied Pikes Peak Hillclimb, the GLK concept represents the Mercedes-Benz performance specialist's first hybrid powertrain to enhance acceleration off the line and out of the corners.
Source - Mercedes-Benz
The four GLK-Class vehicles will be displayed at this year's SEMA show, taking place November 4-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. During the exhibition, attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite design via online and mobile voting. Following the SEMA show, the four vehicles will be displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show (November 21-30) providing showgoers with another opportunity to cast their vote. The votes from the show attendees and www.mbusa.com will be tallied and the winner will be announced on December 2, 2008.