Although the 2015 season of Formula 1 will have a brand new virtual safety car system in order to keep its racers safe during certain times when speed isn’t quite as important as making sure no one collides with safety equipment, there will still be times when a full on safety car is needed to bring everyone’s pace down that little bit further. With that in mind, Mercedes will once again be the manufacturer of choice for this year’s safety car and it has a brand new one to take on the task: the AMG GT S.
This will replace the ever popular gull-wing SLS AMG GT used last year and will help showcase the GT S’ commercial version as well, though the F1 edition will have some modifications made to it – the big light rig on the top being the most obvious. The new AMG will not be quite as powerful as the F1 cars trailing it, but it will be far from a slouch. Capable of hitting 60 miles per hour from a standing start in just 3.8 seconds and hitting a top speed of 192 miles per hour, the four litre V8 engine is quite a hefty beast, putting out an impressive 510 break horse power.
Aerodynamics will be essentially the same as the road legal production version, with the rear wing providing a decent measure of downforce. However Mercedes has also reshaped the light-panel on the roof to make it more aerodynamic and provide a bit of downforce itself, so it won’t be quite so intrusive as previous generations.
Lamenting the loss of an old friend, official F1 safety car driver Bernd Maylander said of the new vehicle (via ESPN): “The gull-wing SLS AMG was my official car in Formula One 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.”
However, the safety car isn’t the only brand new vehicle that Mercedes is bringing to the F1 tracks this year. It’s also introducing a new C63 S medical car, which while a little slower than the safety car – capable of a slightly reduced 4.1 second 0-60 time – still packs over 500 horse power and features enough space for a head physician and two other medical technicians and their equipment in the back, allowing responders to get on the scene of an accident as quickly as possible.
Although fans are never big fans of safety cars, as they tend to slow down the action, this year may end up being a bit more safety concious than the last one, as the terrible crash suffered by Jules Bianchi led to the introduction of the VSC. Time will tell if it makes organisers the FIA a little more gunshy when it comes to letting racers do their thing this year.