With the new Official F1 Safety Car and Medical Car, Mercedes-AMG is launching into the 2008 Formula 1 season. The Safety Car, based on the SL 63 AMG, and the Medical Car, derived from the C 63 AMG wagon, have the task of ensuring safety at all 18 Formula 1 races. The two specially prepared AMG high-performance automobiles will be on duty for the first time when the Grand Prix season kicks off in Melbourne, Australia (March 14-16, 2008). The specialists from the AMG development team and the Performance Studio are responsible for the development, production and servicing of the vehicles.
The Official F1 Safety Car is immediately on hand whenever the safety of a race is threatened by accidents, adverse weather or hazardous situations. After receiving his instructions from the race management, Bernd Maylnder, the driver of the Safety Car, must go to the head of the F1 field and guide the drivers around the circuit. Fast lap times are essential for the Safety Car, because otherwise the sensitive Formula 1 engines would overheat - while their tires and brakes would cool down excessively.
In the 2008 Formula 1 season, Maylnder, 36, will be behind the wheel of a new SL 63 AMG. This roadster, which was presented to the public a few days ago at the Geneva Motor Show, has the finest of pedigrees for its challenging assignment: its AMG 6.3 liter V8 engine has a power output of 525hp, providing acceleration from zero to 62mph in 4.6sec. A newly developed AMG sport exhaust system with larger diameter pipe and new rear silencers allows the high-revving naturally-aspirated engine to breathe more freely. In the interests of reliability even at tropical ambient temperatures, the vehicle incorporates large, additional coolers for engine oil, transmission oil, coolant and power steering.
Outstanding driving dynamics are guaranteed by the newly developed AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed sports transmission with column shift, which makes it possible to change gear in just 100 milliseconds. The combination of three-stage ESP and rear-axle differential lock with 30% locking provides optimum traction in all conditions.
The front and rear axles feature 19" extra-light AMG forged light-alloy wheels. The 8.5" (front) and 9.5" (rear) rims are fitted with 255/35 and 285/30, respectively, from F1 tiremaker Bridgestone. The design of the rims, with their intricate double spokes, optimizes the cooling of the braking system.
Optimum fading resistance and best-possible deceleration values are among the self-evident characteristics of the AMG high-performance braking system, which is equipped all round with composite brake discs. The front axle is fitted with six-piston fixed calipers and 390x36mm discs, while the rear axle features four-piston fixed calipers with 360x26mm rotors.
In total, the Safety Car is 480 lb lighter than the series-production vehicle, thanks to targeted lightweight design measures such as the selective omission of some comfort features. In order to deliver racetrack performance, AMG produced the hood, front and rear aprons, front fenders and trunk lid in carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). Since the Safety Car is always driven with its roof up, the convertible top has been dispensed with, along with all its mechanical components. Likewise, the sound-absorbing materials, which serve primarily to improve the ride comfort, have been removed.
Apart from its roof bar and F1 logos, the SL 63 AMG Official F1 Safety Car is distinguished from the standard-production AMG high-performance roadster by a newly designed front apron with larger cooling apertures. A prominent feature at the rear of the vehicle is the modified diffuser in the rear apron, which incorporates the active rear-axle cooling, compensating for temperature peaks in the highly stressed differential housing. The white LED flashlights in the headlamps and tail lamps are always in operation whenever the vehicle is in use and have a neutral signalling function. An all-new feature is the number plate with Safety Car lettering: illuminated by means of 672 LEDs, it guarantees even greater safety, particularly in rain or darkness.
The inside of the Safety Car is dominated by an atmosphere of undiluted motorsport flair. The workplaces of Bernd Maylnder and his co-driver feature two AMG bucket seats with four-point seatbelts, trim parts in real carbon fiber, black leather appointments and the 365mm AMG performance steering wheel. The centre console is equipped with two monitors for supervising the action on the racetrack, and the two-way radio system allows the crew to remain in contact with the race management. A roll-bar serves to increase both the safety of the occupants and the stability of the vehicle.
C 63 AMG wagon: the new Official F1 Medical CarA second AMG automobile will celebrate its premiere at this season's first Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia: the C 63 AMG wagon Official F1 Medical Car.
At the start of every Grand Prix, the high-speed AMG wagon will follow the Formula 1 field on the first lap. This is because the first lap represents a critical phase of the race in which the field of F1 vehicles is especially tightly bunched. Also in the event of an accident during the race, the Medical Car is the first vehicle on the scene and is able to guarantee the fastest possible emergency treatment.
Mechanically, the wagon is very similar to the Safety Car but it will be driven by Dr Jacques Tropenat (France), who is a medic and amateur race driver. His co-driver is Dr Gary Hartstein (Belgium), who is the official FIA Grand Prix Chief Medical Officer. Both of them are accommodated in AMG sports bucket seats with four-point seatbelts, as are the two medical assistants in the rear. With its unrivalled volume of 485 liters, the luggage compartment offers ample space for the full complement of emergency equipment, including defibrillator and respirator.For 12 years, AMG has continuously provided the Official F1 Safety Car in the top flight of international motorsport. The Official F1 Medical Car has carried the AMG insignia since 1996.