Mercedes-AMG GT S: Bernd Mayländers new safety car
New safety vehicles will be used for the 2015 Formula 1 season – Safety and medical cars are equipped as follows
The GT S and the C 63 S, the new performance cars from Mercedes-AMG, ensure maximum safety in Formula 1. At the first Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia (12 to 15 March 2015), the GT S will make its circuit debut as the official safety car of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. As the official medical car of the World Championship, the C 63 S T-model provides rapid emergency care.
In order to guide the Formula 1 field safely around the course when bad weather conditions or accidents make the use of the safety car necessary, the new GT S with its front mid-engine concept with transaxle, the V8 biturbo engine with dry sump lubrication, the dual clutch gearbox and the highly developed chassis with aluminium double wishbone axles creates the basis for fast laps on the race track. The lightweight aluminium construction not only guarantees a low vehicle weight, but also a low centre of gravity and an advantageous weight distribution of 47 to 53 percent between the front and rear axles.
“The gullwing SLS AMG was my company car for five years”, says Bernd Mayländer (43), driver of the Formula 1 Safety Car since 2000. “Now I’m looking forward to the new GT S, which I already got to know during the development phase. The new AMG sports car impressed me with its high race track performance right from the very first kilometres and fully convinced me”. The former DTM driver is also active as an instructor for the AMG Driving Academy and as a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador at selected events.
Demanding requirements profile for the Safety Car
High cornering speeds, dynamic intermediate spurts and fast lap times – the requirements profile of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) for the safety car is demanding. After all, the race cars from the top class of motorsport have to be driven safely around the circuit in extreme situations. The safety car must not drive too slowly so that the tyres and brakes of the Formula 1 cars do not cool down too much and the engines do not overheat.
The Mercedes-AMG GT S should lead the field in case even safer Zoom
Mayländer, who shares the cockpit of the safety car with FIA fuel analyst Peter Tibbetts (59 years old), explains: “We’re on stand-by in the pit lane with the safety car and are waiting for the command from the race control. If bad weather or incidents endanger a safe course of the race, the Safety Car team receives the order to go into action.
The drivetrain of the Safety Car is similar to that of the road version of the AMG GT S. With a maximum output of 375 kW (510 PS) and a maximum torque of 650 Newton metres, the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine ensures top-class driving performance: The GT S takes 3.8 seconds to sprint from zero to 100 km/h and reaches a top speed of 310 km/h. The GT S is equipped with a V8 bit-turbo engine that delivers top-class performance.
As an acoustic gesture to Formula 1 fans on the grandstands and in front of the TV screens, the GT S is equipped with a modified performance exhaust system – making the AMG V8 engine sound even more distinctive and emotional.
Only a few modifications were necessary to transform it into a safety car. The sports transmission, for example, is 100 percent in production condition. The package also includes a dynamic engine and transmission mount, a specific engine application in the “RACE” driving program and in the “M” manual transmission mode. The package also includes a tighter spring/damper tuning, a higher negative camber at the front axle and adapted sports parameter steering.
The safety car is mounted on particularly light forged wheels in cross-spoke design with fully integrated wheel bolt cover: the black matt forged wheels with bright turned rim flange are fitted with tyres in series dimensions 265/35 R 19 on 9 x 19 (front) and 295/30 R 20 on 11 x 20 (rear).
The ceramic high-performance composite brake system offers lower weight, longer service life and even greater stability thanks to the ceramic brake discs with a diameter of 402 millimetres at the front and 360 millimetres at the rear.
From an optical point of view, the Mercedes-AMG GT S Safety-Car differs from the production car primarily in the striking FIA and F1 logos and the light bar on the roof. It is placed on a carbon scoop, which is designed in such a way that it offers as little attack surface as possible to the airstream and at the same time ensures an aerodynamically optimal flow to the fixed rear wing. The arrangement and design of the carbon scoop and light bar were determined in extensive wind tunnel tests. The rear wing corresponds exactly to that of the aerodynamics package; it is part of the particularly exclusive “Edition 1”.
All signal functions in the light bar are performed by fast-reacting and economical LEDs. The functions at a glance:
Orange: As soon as the Safety Car is used, the orange LEDs are switched on. The orange flashing light in the centre section and as a permanent light at the outer ends of the light bar means “no overtaking”.
Green: If the GT S lines up in the middle of the field at the start of a Safety Car phase, the two central LED boards on the front and rear of the light bar are switched from orange to green. Green is the signal for all Formula 1 drivers to overtake the safety car.
The Formula 1 drivers know what to watch out for when driving the safety car Zoom
On the light bar there is a TV camera, as it is also used in Formula 1 racing cars. Another camera is located on the shelf behind the seats.
The special rear number plate with Safety Car lettering and orange/green LED is synchronised with the light bar and provides additional safety in the dark or in the rain. Another important signal function is provided by the headlights and rear lights: Whenever the safety car is on the road, they provide additional attention by means of impulse flashing.
Several screens, WLAN and sports bucket seats in the cockpit
While Mayländer has to concentrate on the track and observe the Formula 1 field in the rear-view mirror at the same time, Tibbetts is in radio contact with the race control. Mayländer and Tibbetts also communicate with each other by radio. As a backup solution for emergencies, a second radio system is integrated in the cockpit.
Two touch-screen monitors are used to monitor the Formula 1 vehicles. The left display, for example, shows the international TV signal. On the right monitor, an animated display with the current position of the vehicles on the track or current lap times can be displayed. The data management of the visual communication solutions is handled by an InCar hotspot with WLAN radio network.
In addition, various FIA-specific systems, which are also present in every Formula 1 racing car, are installed – such as the transponder system for timekeeping, the high-resolution GPS and the standard telemetry. Also installed is the “Marshalling System”, which shows the driver the flag signals of the respective route section 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”. In the event of an accident on the track in which a critical threshold of G forces is exceeded, the LEDs flash several times. This allows Mayländer and Tibbetts to prepare for an imminent mission.
In order to ensure that the race weekend runs smoothly, all systems with the Safety Car and Medical Car are extensively tested before and during the event.
Six-point belts and sports bucket seats ensure maximum support for the safety car crew.
The new Mercedes-AMG GT S replaces the SLS AMG, which has been used as a safety car in Formula 1 since 2010. Last season, the gullwing was used in ten out of 19 races and a total of 14 times on the track.
The C 63 S to ensure faster medical care Zoom
The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S T-Model is the second official car alongside the GT S to make its race track debut – replacing its predecessor, the C 63 AMG T-Model. The new Formula 1 medical car stands for rapid emergency care and is staffed by up to three doctors. Racing driver Alan van der Merwe (35 years old) sits at the wheel, his co-driver is the official FIA chief physician Dr. Ian Roberts (51 years old). One or two medical assistants sit in the rear compartment – they come from a selected special clinic near the respective race track.
The medical car follows the Formula 1 field in the starting lap because the racing cars are particularly close together in this critical racing phase. In the event of an incident, the doctors are able to reach the scene of the accident as quickly as possible and start medical first aid immediately. During the race, the medical car stands next to the safety car in the pit lane on stand-by.
The 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Estate model offers a maximum output of 375 kW (510 PS) and a maximum torque of 700 Newton metres. Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes 4.1 seconds. As with the Safety Car, the V8 engine, sports gearbox, dynamic engine mounts and electronic rear axle locking differential are on the same level as in the road version. The medical car is also acoustically impressive: the performance exhaust system has been modified so that spectators can enjoy an even more striking V8 engine sound.
The engineers have tuned the chassis specifically to the special operating conditions; after all, the medical car completes the fast race track deployment with three to four passengers as well as the emergency equipment on board. The ceramic discs of the high-performance composite brake system are 402 millimetres in size. The tyres in series dimensions in 245/35 R 19 (front) and 265/35 R 19 (rear), mounted on light-alloy wheels in 8.5 x 19 and 9.5 x 19 cross-spoke design, painted matt black with polished rim flange, provide a high level of grip.
Safety car and medical car together for more safety Zoom
Similar to the Safety-Car, the Medical-Car also has a light bar in LED technology on the roof. In the 490 litre boot the complete emergency equipment including defibrillator and ventilator is safely stowed away.
The fast station wagon is equipped with four sports bucket seats including six-point belts for perfect support and safety for the occupants. Radio equipment is used for communication with the race control. Two iPads including InCar Hotspot and WLAN radio network are also installed in the cockpit to monitor the racing action.
Official Formula 1 Safety and Medical Cars since 1996 from Mercedes-AMG
As before, both Mercedes-AMG cars will be represented at all Grand Prix events of the 2015 Formula 1 season. During the race weekends, they guarantee maximum safety not only in Formula 1, but also in all frame races. Two highly qualified AMG technicians will supervise the use of Safety Cars and Medical Cars during the season. Mercedes-AMG has been actively supporting Formula 1 since 1996.
All Formula 1 safety cars from Mercedes-AMG at a glance:
1996: C 36 AMG (W 202)
from 1997: CLK 55 AMG (C 208)
2000: CL 55 AMG (C 215)
from 2001: SL 55 AMG (R 230)
2003: CLK 55 AMG (C 209)
from 2004: SL 55 AMG (R 171)
from 2006: CLK 63 AMG (C 209)
from 2008: SL 63 AMG (R 230)
from 2010: SLS AMG (C 197)
from 2012 (Belgium): SLS AMG GT (C 197)
since 2015: Mercedes-AMG GT S (C 190)
All Formula 1 medical cars from Mercedes-AMG at a glance:
1996: C 36 AMG (W 202)
1997: C 36 AMG (W 202); E 60 AMG (W 210)
from 1998: C 55 AMG Estate (S 202)
from 2001: C 32 AMG Estate (S 203)
from 2004: C 55 AMG Estate (S 203)
from 2008: C 63 AMG Estate (S 204)
since 2015: Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Estate (S 205)