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At the first Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia the Mercedes AMG GT S will debut on the race track as the Official Safety Car of the FIA Formula One World Championship™. As the Official Medical Car of the FIA Formula One World Championship™, the C63 S Estate will be on hand to provide fast emergency medical care. Mercedes-AMG has been active continuously at the pinnacle of motorsport since 1996.
The new GT S is the perfect vehicle to guide the Formula 1® field safely around the track when bad weather conditions or accidents necessitate deployment of the Safety Car. The second sports car developed independently by Mercedes-AMG boasts ideal credentials for this tough job in the premiere motorsport competition. The front mid-engine concept with transaxle, the V8 biturbo engine with dry sump lubrication, the dual clutch transmission and the cutting-edge sports suspension with aluminium double-wishbone axles provide the basis for fast laps on the race circuit. Excellent driving dynamics are in the DNA of the Mercedes-AMG GT S: the intelligent aluminium lightweight design guarantees not only a low vehicle weight but also a low centre of gravity for the vehicle and an advantageous weight distribution of 47 to 53 percent between front and rear axle.
Bernd Mayländer (GER, age 43), driver of the Official Safety Car of the FIA Formula One World Championship™ since 2000, notes: “The gull-wing SLS AMG was my official car in Formula 1® for five years. Now I’m looking forward to the new Mercedes-AMG GT S, which I have been fortunate enough to get to know during its development phase. The new AMG sports car won me over immediately with its high-calibre race track performance.” The former DTM driver also works as an instructor for the AMG Driving Academy and as a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador at selected events.
High cornering speeds, dynamic bursts of speed and fast lap times – the Safety Car is subject to a stringent catalogue of requirements drawn up by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile). After all, it has to be capable of guiding the racing cars from the top class of motorsport around the circuit in extreme situations. And the Safety Car must not go about its work at too low a speed either, in order to avoid the tyres and brakes of the Formula 1® cars cooling down to an excessive degree and to ensure that the engines do not overheat. Bernd Mayländer, who shares the cockpit of the Safety Car with FIA Fuel Analyst Peter Tibbetts (GB, age 59), explains: “We are on stand-by in the Safety Car in the pit lane, waiting for instructions from the race organisers.” When bad weather or any incidents pose a threat to safe continuation of the race, the Safety Car team is duly deployed.
The drivetrain of the Official Safety Car of the FIA Formula One World Championship™ corresponds to the system featuring on the road-going version of the AMG GT S. With a maximum power output of 375 kW (510 hp) and peak torque of 650 newton metres, the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine guarantees high-end performance: the GT S dashes from a standing start to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and attains a maximum speed of 310 km/h. As music to the ears of the Formula 1® fans in the stands and in front of their TV screens, the GT S is fitted with a modified Performance exhaust system for an even more striking and emotive AMG V8 engine sound.
The Mercedes-AMG GT S clearly has race track performance in its genes, as only a small number of modifications were required to transform it into the Official Safety Car of the FIA Formula One World Championship™. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7‑speed sports transmission corresponds 100 percent to the series production unit, for example. The DYNAMIC PLUS package with which the Safety Car is equipped is optionally available to any GT S customer for a further increase in driving dynamics. It comprises dynamic engine and transmission mounts and a specific engine application in “RACE” DYNAMIC SELECT transmission mode and in manual transmission mode “M”. The package also includes tauter spring and damper tuning, more negative camber at the front axle as well as an adapted speed-sensitive sports steering system. The Performance steering wheel in black DINAMICA microfibre and yellow highlights in the instrument cluster round off the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package.
The Safety Car runs on particularly light cross-spoke forged wheels with fully integrated wheel bolt covers. The forged wheels painted in matt black with high-sheen rim flanges are fitted with tyres in standard size 265/35 R 19 on 9 x 19 (front) and 295/30 R 20 on 11 x 20 (rear). This wheel/tyre combination is also optionally available to customers for the Mercedes-AMG GT and the GT S.
All signalling functions on the light bar are performed by fast-responding, energy-efficient LEDs. Overview of functions:
Orange: As soon as the Safety Car is deployed, the orange LEDs are switched on. The flashing orange light in the middle and the steady lights on the outer ends of the light bar indicate “absolutely no overtaking”.
Green: When the GT S takes up a position in the middle of the field at the beginning of a Safety Car phase, the two central LED panels on the front and rear of the light bar are switched from orange to green. Green lights indicate to all Formula 1® drivers that the Safety Car is to be overtaken.
Mounted on the light bar is a TV camera such as is also used on the Formula 1® racing cars. Another camera is located on the stowage tray behind the seats. The special number plate at the rear with Safety Car lettering and orange/green LEDs is synchronised with the light bar and provides for added safety in the dark or in rain. The headlamps and tail lights perform an additional important signalling function: whenever the Safety Car is on the track, a stroboscopic effect makes the car even more conspicuous.
Various FIA-specific systems, such as are used in every Formula 1® racing car, are also installed – the transponder system for timing purposes, the high-resolution GPS and the standard telemetry. In order to ensure that the racing weekend goes off smoothly, all systems undergo thorough testing with the Safety Car and Medical Car before and during the event. The new Mercedes-AMG GT S is replacing the SLS AMG, which served as the Official Safety Car of the FIA Formula One World Championship™ from 2010. The gull-wing model was deployed in ten out of 19 races last season and entered the race track 14 times in all.
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