Mercedes has launched the car that it will field in next year's DTM, the C-Class coupe.
The unveiling, which took place at the Frankfurt Motor Show, comes less than 24 hours after rival manufacturer Audi took the covers off its A5 DTM, and was made by Mercedes Formula 1 drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, motorsport vp Norbert Haug and board chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche.
As is the case with the Audi and BMW machines already revealed, the C-Coupe is built to the DTM's new 2012 technical regulations that aim to primarily reduce costs by 40 percent and improve driver safety levels significantly.
"This new-generation vehicle, based on our Mercedes-Benz C-Coupe, signals the introduction of an even more spectacular racing car from the start of 2012," said Haug. "I am certain that the spectators will get their money's worth from the three-way fight between Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the DTM next year."
Among the new features of the C-Coupe, which is built by AMG around a common carbon-fiber safety cell, are a high-strength steel roll cage, reduced aerodynamics and larger wheels and tires compared to the car it replaces.
The car is currently being tested at Lausitz alongside the rival Audi and BMW machines.
"The first test of a new car is always an exciting moment," added Mercedes driver Gary Paffett. "After getting a feel for the handling and performance of the DTM AMG Mercedes C-Coupe around the Lausitzring, I can say I'm very pleased with it.
"Of course, we still have a lot of development work ahead of us before the 2012 season opener at Hockenheim. The driving experience is quite different to that of previous DTM cars.
"The new Hankook tires for 2012 are wider and have taller sidewalls, providing more mechanical grip. Also, the gear lever has disappeared for 2012 – we will change gear using paddles on the steering wheel instead – and that's something I'm already used to from Formula 1."