There’s a new car at the front of the Formula 1 pack
If you’ve been caught up in the action of a new season of Formula 1 racing for 2018, you might not have noticed a new car at the front of the pack.
The Mercedes-AMG GT R is the new Safety Car for 2018.
With 430kW and a top speed of 318kmh, it’s the fastest and most powerful FIA F1 Safety Car of all time.
And you’re unlikely to miss it too – it will be on duty at all 20 race weekends this year.
The Safety Car comes out to lead the F1 field around the track when bad weather or accidents require it.
‘‘It is an absolute highlight in terms of driving dynamics and is one level higher up still than the AMG GT S of recent years,’’ says driver Bernd Maylander. ‘‘Of course, ideally the safety car should be deployed as rarely as possible – but when we have to safely bunch up the F1 field and lead it around the track, we will be superbly equipped with the AMG GT R.’’
Mercedes-AMG says the GT R has more motorsport technology at work than any other production model.
Wide front and rear wings allow an increased track width for optimum grip and high cornering speeds. The front apron with ‘‘Airpanel’’ active air control system and the active aerodynamics profile in the underbody, the large rear aerofoil and the rear apron with double diffuser increase the aerodynamic efficiency.
The wheels are lightweight forged alloy. The active rearwheel steering works with a nineway adjustable traction control system and adjustable coil-over suspension with additional electronic control.
The requirements of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) for the Official FIA F1 Safety Car are demanding. It must be able to maintain a minimum speed level to prevent the tyres and brakes of F1 vehicles from excessive cooling and the engines from overheating.
Only a small number of modifications have been required to transform the production GT R into the Safety Car. An AMG Track Package with roll-over protection system and ceramic high-performance compound braking system are on board as optional extras. The advantages of the ceramic brakes are a lower weight, a longer service life and fade resistance.
In terms of appearance, the Safety Car differs from the seriesproduction vehicle by virtue of the FIA and F1 livery and the light bar on the roof. The latter is positioned on a carbon-fibre air scoop that is designed to offer the least possible air resistance while at the same time providing for an aerodynamically optimised flow of air towards the rear aerofoil.
The positioning and design of the scoop and the light bar are the result of wind tunnel testing.
While Maylander focuses on the track and keeps an eye on the field in the rear-view mirror, codriver Richard Darker maintains radio contact with race control. Darker monitors the F1 vehicles with two iPads. The display of the left one shows the international TV broadcast. The right one can feature either an animated display of the current position of the vehicles or show current lap times.
Data management for the visual communication solutions is handled by an in-car hotspot with wireless network.
Alongside the safety car, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S estate is on hand to provide emergency care as the official Medical Car. It is crewed by up to three medics. At the wheel is racing driver Alan van der Merwe, while his codriver is FIA F1 deputy medical delegate Dr Ian Roberts. The rear seats accommodate one or two assistant medics from a selected specialist hospital near the particular racetrack.
The estate is fitted with four sports bucket seats including sixpoint seat belts. Radio equipment enables communication with race control. To enable monitoring of racing activities, two iPads are also installed in the cockpit. The luggage compartment accommodates a full complement of emergency equipment, including defibrillator and respirator.
The Medical Car follows the F1 field on the starting lap, as the racing cars are grouped particularly closely together in this critical phase of the race.
During the race, the Medical Car is lined up alongside the Safety Car in pit lane.
With 430kW and a top speed of 318kmh, GT R is the fastest and most powerful Safety Car . . . ever.