Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT is the new Formula 1 Safety Car

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 21, 2012

The new Formula 1 Safety Car is the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, which replaces the regular SLS that had marshalled the events at the F1 race since 2010. There have been several AMG safety cars that had served as safety cars in the past years at this event. The GT is basically a modified version of the present SLS supercar.

It delivers 583bhp from its 6.2-litre V8 (up 20bhp) and comes with a retuned dual-clutch gearbox that offers better shift times. With these revisions, the SLS can accelerate from zero to 62mph by about a tenth of a second faster to just 3.7 seconds. It has a limited top speed of 197mph. Another feature that’s new to the SLS GT is AMG Ride Control.

This is the replacement for the three-mode system on the current car. It supposedly improves its dynamics with its aggressive suspension tuning. The automaker will be unveiling a production version of the SLS GT at the Paris motor show before it arrives this November at the UK showrooms. Mechanically, it is identical to the safety car.

It features darkened head and tail lamp lenses and its fins and grille-mounted Mercedes badge have a gloss black finish to distinguish it from the standard SLS. The steering wheel gets a coating of Alcantara while the dials and sections of the dashboard and centre console have a gloss black finish.

Press Release

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Official F1 Safety Car

The 2012 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix is almost certain to see the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Official F1™ Safety Car called into action. With an increase in power output to 435 kW (591 hp) compared to its predecessor, optimised gear shift times and the new AMG RIDE CONTROL Performance suspension, the GT evolution of the gull-wing model is perfectly placed to cope with its demanding role in the elite class of the world of motorsport. Safety Car driver Bernd Mayländer is particularly pleased with his 'company car':

"The SLS AMG GT is the best Safety Car I have driven!"

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Official F1™ Safety Car was deployed for the first time in a race situation at this year's 2012 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix and there is a high probability that it will make an appearance during the night race on Singapore's Marina Bay street circuit. Indeed, Race Control has deployed the Safety Car in every Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix since it joined the calendar in 2008. The race also promises to be highly exciting from a sporting perspective: the four editions have produced a total of three different winners.

The job of the Official F1™ Safety Car is, as always, to help ensure maximum safety for the F1™ field is maintained in extreme situations. As soon as Race Control considers that the safe progress of the race may be impeded, it sends the Safety Car out onto the track. Poor weather conditions or accidents are the main reasons for its deployment. The new SLS AMG GT differs from the previous SLS AMG in terms of its increased driving dynamics, even better on-track performance and also new design features.

The new SLS AMG GT is driven by Bernd Mayländer (41 years old, Germany). The Official F1™ Safety Car driver has fulfilled this role since 2000 and he is a key member of the FIA's safety team across the race weekend. "The new SLS AMG GT is the best Safety Car I have driven. The combination of increased performance, optimised transmission shift times and the new AMG RIDE CONTROL Performance suspension takes the driving dynamics of the gull-wing model to an even higher level. I have now been driving the different Safety Cars since 2000, and with each new vehicle I notice a significant enhancement over the previous model. This is where the pursuit of high performance and precision, which is so typical of Mercedes-AMG, is clearly evident again", according to Bernd Mayländer.

His co-driver, FIA associate Pete Tibbets (45 years old, from Great Britain) remains in permanent radio contact with the Race Control during deployment of the Safety Car. The Official F1™ Safety Car is also on call throughout the race weekend for the majority of the accompanying race series, such as the GP2™ and GP3™ Series and the Porsche Supercup.

Safety Car deployed six times so far in the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship™

The Official F1™ Safety Car has been deployed six times to date in the 2012 Formula 1™ season, with the drivers spending a total of 138.1 kilometres under Safety Car conditions. The longest Safety Car phase so far in 2012 came back in March during the second Grand Prix™ of the season at Sepang in Malaysia, lasting for a total of eight laps (44.3 km) before and after the race restart, owing to torrential rainfall. The 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship™ saw the Safety Car deployed a record-breaking 21 times, for a total distance of 452.3 kilometres.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Official F1™ Safety Car in standard production guise

In keeping with the philosophy of Mercedes-AMG, the Safety Car does without technical modifications or retrofitted lightweight design measures as far as possible. The SLS AMG GT's outstanding driving dynamics come courtesy of its thoroughbred sports car heritage: with its aluminium spaceframe construction, the Official F1™ Safety Car tips the scales at just 1620 kg (DIN kerb weight). Thanks to the dry-sump lubrication system, it has been possible to install the V8 engine very low down, giving the vehicle a low centre of gravity, too. And as a result of the engine's positioning behind the front axle and the transaxle arrangement of the dual-clutch transmission on the rear axle, the car also has a favourable weight distribution ratio of 47:53 percent (front/rear). As is customary on racing cars, aluminium double-wishbone axles ensure high cornering limits, precise turn-in characteristics, superb agility, as well as low mass inertia during sudden changes of direction.

The AMG 6.3-litre V8 front mid-engine with a maximum output of 435 kW (591 hp) and 650 Newton metres of peak torque is also the series-production version, as are the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission with optimised shift times, the newly developed AMG RIDE CONTROL Performance suspension, the AMG high-performance ceramic composite brake system and the weight-reduced AMG 10-spoke forged light-alloy wheels painted in matt black with a high-sheen finish. The one exception is the specially developed rear silencer, which also featured in the SLS AMG Official F1™ Safety Car and generates an even more sensational V8 soundtrack to thrill Formula 1™ fans watching at the circuit and at home alike. The SLS AMG GT races from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, and reaches the 200 km/h mark after just 11.2 seconds.

Visually speaking, the SLS AMG GT can be distinguished from the SLS AMG by its darkened headlamps and tail lamps and the addition of "GT" to the AMG badge on the right-hand side of the boot lid. The wing-shaped cross fin is painted in a high-gloss black finish, just like the fins on the bonnet and wings. The AMG Performance steering wheel with its flat-bottomed rim and high-gloss black solid metal insert features grip areas trimmed in Alcantara® and a red 12 o'clock mark at the top. The AMG instrument cluster comes with a black fascia housing the upshift indicator with its seven LEDs.

Six unique SLS AMG models

The SLS AMG Coupé presented in 2009 was the first vehicle developed independently by Mercedes-AMG. The spectacular gull-wing model was followed in 2011 by the open-top SLS AMG Roadster as well as the SLS AMG GT3 customer sports racing car. Having secured 26 victories and the FIA GT3 European Championship title, the SLS AMG GT3 was the most successful newcomer to the world of motorsport in 2011. In the 2012 motorsport season, the racing version of the gull-wing car is involved in over 15 race series extending over four continents. With the new SLS AMG GT, available in Coupé and Roadster versions, the model range has now grown to five variants. The sixth model is due to follow in 2013 in the form of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive: Mercedes-AMG is planning an exclusive small-scale production run of the purely electrically powered super sports car.

15 years of Safety Cars and Medical Cars from Mercedes-AMG

AMG has extensive experience in the design, development and deployment of the Official F1™ Safety Car and Official F1™ Medical Car. A C63 AMG Estate has been used as the Official F1™ Medical Car since 2008, ready to provide swift emergency medical assistance in the event of an accident. Indeed, the performance brand of Mercedes-Benz has been permanently active in the top echelons of international motorsport since 1996.

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