The Official F1™ Safety Car is immediately on hand whenever the safety of a race is threatened by accidents, adverse weather conditions or other hazardous situations. After receiving his instructions from the race management, Bernd Mayländer, the driver of the Safety Car, must go to the head of the Formula 1 field and safely guide the world’s fastest racing drivers around the circuit. Fast lap times are a must for the Safety Car, because otherwise the sensitive Formula 1 engines would overheat – and their tyres and brakes would cool down excessively. You can find more visual details of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG F1 Safety Car gallery by scrolling up.
In the 2008 Formula 1 season, Mayländer, 36, will be behind the wheel of a new Official F1™ Safety Car, the SL 63 AMG. This high-performance roadster, which was presented to the public just a few days ago at the Geneva Motor Show, has the finest of pedigrees for its challenging assignment: its AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine has a power output of 386 kW/525 hp, providing acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. A newly developed AMG sport exhaust system with larger pipe diameter and new rear silencers allows the high-revving AMG naturally aspirated engine to breathe even more freely. Both the motor sport fans at the racetrack and also those at home in front of their TV sets are captivated by the vehicle’s special sound tuning.
Special cooling measures and heavy-duty composite braking system
In the interests of best possible reliability even at tropical ambient temperatures, the vehicle incorporates large-size, additional coolers for engine oil, transmission oil, cooling water and power steering. Outstanding driving dynamics are guaranteed by the newly developed AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission with column shift, which makes it possible to change gear in just 100 milliseconds. The combination of 3-stage ESP® and rear-axle differential lock with 30 percent locking effect provides optimum traction in all weather conditions. Not only the newly developed thread chassis, which has proved its worth in races, guarantees ideal racetrack performance, optimal road feel and sportscar-like cornering and over/understeer characteristics, but also the numerous adjustment possibilities for ride height, track width and camber enable the chassis setup to be customized to the particular racetrack.
The front and rear axles feature 19-inch extra-light AMG forged light-alloy wheels. The 8.5-inch (front) and 9.5-inch (rear) rims are fitted with tyres of size 255/35 and 285/30, respectively, from Formula 1 tyremaker Bridgestone. The design of the rims, with their intricately styled double spokes, optimizes both the cooling of the highly stressed braking system and the specially engineered cooling-air flow. 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 internally ventilated composite brake discs. The front axle is fitted with six-piston fixed callipers and discs of size 390 x 36 millimetres, while the rear axle features four-piston fixed callipers with brake discs of size 360 x 26 millimetres.
220 kilograms lighter than the series-production vehicle thanks to targeted lightweight design measures
Like its predecessor, which was based on the CLK 63 AMG, the SL 63 AMG Safety Car weighs in lighter than its series-production counterpart thanks to targeted lightweight design measures allied to the selective omission of some comfort features on account of the vehicle’s specific mission – and this despite a larger braking system including brake cooling, additional cooling measures, lighting system and communications equipment. In order to deliver top-drawer racetrack performance, the specialists from AMG have produced the engine bonnet, front and rear aprons, front wings and luggage compartment lid from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), a material that has been tried and tested in motor sports. Since the Safety Car is always driven with its top up, it has been possible to dispense with all the mechanical and hydraulic components of the Vario roof. Likewise, the sound-absorbing materials, which serve primarily to improve the ride comfort, have been removed. The result is a weight reduction of 220 kilograms, with the Safety Car weighing in at just 1750 kilograms (with a full tank and without occupants).
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-air openings. A prominent feature at the rear of the vehicle is the modified diffuser insert in the rear apron, which incorporates the active rear-axle cooling, this 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.
Interior with undiluted motor sport flair
The inside of the Safety Car is dominated by an atmosphere of undiluted motor sport flair. The workplaces of Bernd Mayländer and his co-driver feature two AMG sports bucket seats with 4-point seatbelts, trim parts in real carbon fibre, black leather appointments and the AMG performance steering wheel with its 365-millimetre steering wheel rim, flat underside and AMG aluminium shift paddles. The centre console is equipped with two monitors for supervising the action on the racetrack, and the two-way radio system allows the crew of the Safety Car to remain in contact with the race management. A roll-over bar serves to increase both the safety of the occupants and also the stability of the vehicle.
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