As the first sports car developed independently by Mercedes-AMG, the SLS AMG did its job faithfully as a Formula One safety car, starting with the 2010 season and ending its run five years later. With Mercedes-Benz deciding to retire its modern Gull-wing last year, the 2015 Formula One season was in dire need of a new safety car, and since the Stuttgart carmaker has an exclusive contract with the FIA, it delivered.

Approximately one week before the 2015 Formula One World Championship starts, the German carmaker quietly unveiled its new safety car at the Vallelunga Circuit, a mildly modified but otherwise production version of the Mercedes-AMG GT S. Still driven by legendary Bernd Mayländer, who has handled F1 safety car duties since 2000, the new car will make its first race appearance at the Melbourne Grand Prix, between 13-15 March.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 safety car.

  • 2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    3.9 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    190 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    175000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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The aerodynamic light bar on the roof is positioned on a carbon-fiber air scoop, which optimizes air flow to the rear wing.

At first glance, the Mercedes-AMG GT- S looks like a series production model with a light bar on its roof, but it does in fact differ in a couple of more areas as well. Apart from the eye-catching FIA and F1 logos, the model also features elements included in the GT Aerodynamics package, part of the Mercedes-AMG GT "Edition 1" package. A more pronounced splitter is fitted to the front end, while sportier side skirts and a small, fixed, rear wing improve both the model’s looks and its downforce.

The aerodynamic light bar on the roof is positioned on a carbon-fiber air scoop, which optimizes air flow to the rear wing. The entire package has been developed in the wind tunnel, so it should be pretty efficient. The LED light bar performs two functions: when the safety car is deployed, the orange LEDs are switched on, with the flashing orange light in the middle and steady lights on the outer ends translating into "absolutely no overtaking." On the other hand, if the car ends up in the middle of the field at the beginning of a safety car period, the two central LED panels on the front and rear of the light bar are green, thus signaling to the F1 drivers that the Safety Car may be passed.

The rear license plate on the car is also fitted with orange and green LED lights, synchronized with the roof light bar. During low visibility, a stroboscopic effect from the headlamps and taillights can make the safety car more noticeable. Two cameras, one mounted on the light bar and the other on a tray between the seats, provide live coverage of what is happening around the GT S safety car at all times.

Interior

Bernd Mayländer isn’t doing his job as a safety car driver alone, as he is accompanied by FIA Fuel Analysts Peter Tibbets, who is in radio contact with race organizers and Mayländer at all times. Apart from transmitting orders, Tibbets also has access to two iPads integrated into the car’s dashboard. The extendable iPad on the center console can show the international feed of the race, while the larger, right-hand one can show an animated presentation of the position of each vehicle on the track, and current lap times.

The safety car is equipped with an InCar Hotspot with WLAN, a transponder system for timing purposes, high-resolution GPS and the same telemetry system used on every Formula One race car. Both occupants benefit from sports bucket seats with six-point seat belts, and there is an on-board "Marshalling System, which uses LEDs for signaling the various flag types for every section of the track ,and also flash intermittently if there’s an accident in which the G-force limit has been exceeded.

Drivetrain

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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Those numbers translate into a naught to 62 mph acceleration of just 3.8 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 193 mph.

Just like a road-going Mercedes-AMG GT S, the new F1 safety car is equipped with a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter, V-8 engine that delivers 510 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers translate into a naught to 62 mph acceleration of just 3.8 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 193 mph. The power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission that is also identical with the one from the production model.

The safety car is fitted with dynamic engine and transmission mounts, firmer spring and damper tuning, more negative camber for the front wheels, a speed-sensitive sports steering system and a carbon-ceramic brake system, all of which are optionally available for the production GT S. To aurally satisfy fans of the naturally aspirated, 6.2-liter V-8 in the SLS AMG SC, the Mercedes-AMG GT S Safety Car is equipped with a modified performance exhaust system that is likely not road-legal.

Competition

BMW i8 Formula E Safety Car

2015 BMW i8 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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With the BMW i sub-brand catering for a more environmentally conscious crowd, it was only natural that the Formula E championship would get a hybrid or electric safety car. That is where the i8 jumped in, with the sports plug-in hybrid being an almost perfect fit for the racing series. Made almost entirely out of CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic), the BMW i8 in safety car guise is not that different from a production model.

Apart from the distinctive light bar on the roof, the car is also equipped with a full roll cage, bucket seats with six-point safety belts and a special communications system. Just like a series production i8, the car is powered by a turbocharged, 1.5-liter, three-cylinder that is accompanied by an electric motor in delivering a combined output of 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Thanks to an extra electric motor that acts as a two-speed transmission, the BMW i8 is basically AWD on demand, providing extra traction in wet conditions.

Conclusion

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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With Mercedes-Benz being the official safety and medical car provider for the F1 World Championship since 1996, it was expected that the SLS AMG’s career would be succeeded by the Mercedes-AMG GT. That said, I realize that a lot of fans will be mildly disappointed about the SLS AMG’s demise, especially since the large-displacement monster sounded even more ferocious than the V-6 hybrid Formula One cars. Hopefully, the modified exhaust on the new GT S safety car will alleviate the change.

  • Leave it
    • * Whenever you see it, the F1 race is static
    • * Light bar isn’t road-legal

Press Release

Baptism of fire on the race track: The GT S and the C 63 S - the new high-performance cars from Mercedes-AMG - provide for maximum safety in the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship™. At the first Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia (12 to 15 March 2015) the 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 C 63 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.

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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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.

Stringent catalogue of requirements for the Safety Car

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.

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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Drivetrain configured to the same standard as the road-going version of the GT S

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.

The high-performance ceramic composite braking system is also optionally available for the road version of the GT. The advantages of this system are lower weight, a longer service life and even better fade resistance thanks to the ceramic brake discs with a diameter of 402 millimetres at the front and 360 millimetres at the rear.

Aerodynamically optimised carbon-fibre air scoop on the roof

In terms of appearance, the Mercedes-AMG GT S Safety Car differs from the series production vehicle above all by virtue of the striking FIA and F1® logos and the light bar on the roof. The latter is positioned on a carbon-fibre air scoop that is designed such as to offer the least possible airstream resistance while at the same time providing for an aerodynamically optimised flow of air towards the rear aerofoil. The positioning and design of the carbon-fibre air scoop and the light bar are the result of extensive wind tunnel tests. The rear aerofoil corresponds exactly to the aerofoil included in the Aerodynamics package; it forms part of the particularly exclusive "Edition 1".

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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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.

iPads®, WLAN and sports bucket seats in the cockpit

While Bernd Mayländer is fully focused on the race track and keeping an eye on the Formula 1® field in the rearview mirror, Peter Tibbetts is in radio contact with the race organisers. Mayländer and Tibbetts also communicate with each other by radio. A second radio system is integrated in the cockpit as a back-up solution for emergencies. Peter Tibbetts monitors the Formula 1® vehicles by means of two iPads®. The display of the extendable iPad® on the left shows the International Feed of the Grand Prix, for example. The right-hand monitor can optionally show an animated presentation indicating the current positions of the vehicles on the track or current lap times. Data management for the visual communication solutions is performed by an InCar Hotspot with WLAN.

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S F1 Safety Car High Resolution Exterior
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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, for example. Also on board is the "Marshalling System", which shows the driver the flag signals for the current section of the circuit by means of three coloured LEDs. In the Safety Car and Medical Car the system is equipped with an additional function - the so-called "Medical Warning Light". Should an accident occur on the track in which a critical G-force threshold is exceeded, the LEDs will flash several times, prompting Bernd Mayländer and Peter Tibbetts to prepare for imminent deployment.

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.

Six-point seat belts and sports bucket seats with the AMG emblem provide maximum support for the Safety Car’s crew. The interior of the GT S otherwise corresponds to that of the production vehicle.

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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