As exciting a product as GT3 racing is – especially in the Pirelli World Challenge Sprint and SprintX formats – the cars themselves have become complicated. And while GT3 was envisioned as customer – not factory – racing, those who buy and race the cars have learned that doing so without some support from the factory is a challenging task. Tim Pappas and his Black Swan Racing team have been on both sides, and he prefers racing with a support infrastructure in place.

Pappas was the pioneer in Mercedes AMG GT3 racing in the U.S., bringing the SLS GT3 to the U.S. to race in PWC. It was the company’s approach to its first GT3 program that drew Pappas to race the car.

“In 2011, I was contacted by my teammate, Jeroen Bleekemolen, who alerted me that there were three SLSs entered in the 24 Hours of Dubai and was I interested in joining one of the cars,” Pappas explained. “The cars were run by Black Flacon, but were still technically under the guise of a factory program – it was after Dubai that the first customer cars were delivered, so the 24 Hours of Dubai 2011 was the last proof-of-concept and development of the cars. The car was fantastic, but unfortunately one of my teammates had a pretty big shunt early in the race and the car ended up spending two hours in the garage. But one of our sister cars finished third in the race.”

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