In its debut year, the brand-new CLK 63 AMG will also debut as the official FIA safety car for the 2006 Formula 1 season. With its 354 kW/481 hp AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine its modified brakes, suspension, cooling and exhaust system, and an extensive package of lightweight components, the fast-paced coupÃ© is well prepared for its responsible role on the Formula 1 racing circuits. The first outing for the CLK 63 AMG safety car will be at the Bahrain Grand Prix (March 9 to 12, 2006); the standard version will then appear in the second quarter of 2006. Meanwhile, as in previous years, the C 55 AMG estate will be ready for action in all 18 Formula 1 races as the official medical car. Its job is to help as fast as possible at the scene of an emergency.
The Mercedes CLK 63 AMG safety car will have the task of keeping the Formula 1 racecars safely out of trouble in the event of accidents or bad weather. At a signal from Race Control, the safety car piloted by former DTM driver Bernd Mayländer must move into position at the head of the field and lead the cars round the track at the fastest possible speed - since otherwise the high-engine F1 engines will overheat and the tyres will lose grip.
The high-speed AMG V8 Coupé is excellently equipped for this job. Its new, eight-cylinder naturally aspirated engine, which was developed entirely by AMG, has a displacement of 6.3 litres and develops maximum power of 481 hp at 6800 rpm and maximum torque of 464 lbs-ft at 5000 rpm. The power is managed by an AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission with steering-wheel shift paddles. For its Formula 1 role, the CLK 63 AMG gets a new throaty-sounding exhaust system which will go down well with motor sport fans both at the track and in front of the TV screens.
The new AMG safety car is well endowed with motor sport technology to help it brave any climate, including a high-performance radiator, two engine oil coolers fitted in the sides of the front apron and an auxiliary, larger transmission oil cooler. The rear axle differential has cooling fins and separate oil cooler.
Racing-derived suspension and brake technology
To optimise handling, further typical racing features of the safety car include an adjustable threaded suspension and 19-inch AMG forged alloy wheels with wide-base tyres, size 235/35 at the front and 265/30 at the rear. The safety car has a 70 millimetres wider track at the front and a 60 millimetres wider track at the rear than the standard car, as indicated by the wider wheel arches. The new larger-sized AMG high-performance brake system with excellent braking performance and fade characteristics features 390-millimetre composite discs at the front with six-piston callipers, and 330-millimetre steel brake discs with four-piston callipers at the rear. The brake discs are vented and perforated on all wheels. Since the front brakes take more load than the rear brakes, they are equipped with specially adapted cooling ducts.
150 kg lighter than the standard version due to high-tech components
In terms of performance, the AMG safety car gets an added edge from being more than 150 kilograms lighter than the road version - despite all the additional componentry such as communication equipment, lights, rear axle and brake cooling and the larger wheels and brake system. The Mercedes-AMG engineers made these substantial weight savings by using carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), a high-tech material used in Formula 1 and the DTM. The front and rear aprons, the bonnet, the front wings and the doors are all made from this light-weight material. The AMG safety car weighs in at 3527 lbs, making it more than 330 lbs lighter than the standard CLK 63 AMG, which weighs 3869 lbs (both figures EC kerb weight).
Sophisticated signalling system and communication equipment
The main visual indicators that this is not the standard CLK 63 AMG are the FIA F1 logos and the lights on the roof. The white strobe lights in the headlamps and taillights are always on when the car is in action. They have a neutral function and simply serve to attract attention. To communicate with Race Control, the safety car is equipped with a sophisticated radio system, a TV monitor and TV cameras mounted inside and outside the vehicle. Bernd Mayländer’s "workplace" is fitted with two bucket seats with 4-point belts, exclusive silver/black leather upholstery, F1 sill panels, a high-grip AMG sports steering wheel and superior-quality carbon trim, all of which emphasise the special character of the new FIA safety car from Mercedes-AMG.
Mercedes-AMG has been supplying the Formula 1 safety car continuously for the past ten years. A V8 AMG E-Class Coupé was used as a medical car as far back as 1984.