The 2012 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix is almost certain to see the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Official F1™ Safety Car called into action. With an increase in power output to 435 kW (591 hp) compared to its predecessor, optimised gear shift times and the new AMG RIDE CONTROL Performance suspension, the GT evolution of the gull-wing model is perfectly placed to cope with its demanding role in the elite class of the world of motorsport. Safety Car driver Bernd Mayländer is particularly pleased with his ‘company car’:
“The SLS AMG GT is the best Safety Car I have driven!”
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Official F1™ Safety Car was deployed for the first time in a race situation at this year’s 2012 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix and there is a high probability that it will make an appearance during the night race on Singapore’s Marina Bay street circuit. Indeed, Race Control has deployed the Safety Car in every Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix since it joined the calendar in 2008. The race also promises to be highly exciting from a sporting perspective: the four editions have produced a total of three different winners.
The job of the Official F1™ Safety Car is, as always, to help ensure maximum safety for the F1™ field is maintained in extreme situations. As soon as Race Control considers that the safe progress of the race may be impeded, it sends the Safety Car out onto the track. Poor weather conditions or accidents are the main reasons for its deployment. The new SLS AMG GT differs from the previous SLS AMG in terms of its increased driving dynamics, even better on-track performance and also new design features.
The new SLS AMG GT is driven by Bernd Mayländer (41 years old, Germany). The Official F1™ Safety Car driver has fulfilled this role since 2000 and he is a key member of the FIA’s safety team across the race weekend. “The new SLS AMG GT is the best Safety Car I have driven. The combination of increased performance, optimised transmission shift times and the new AMG RIDE CONTROL Performance suspension takes the driving dynamics of the gull-wing model to an even higher level. I have now been driving the different Safety Cars since 2000, and with each new vehicle I notice a significant enhancement over the previous model. This is where the pursuit of high performance and precision, which is so typical of Mercedes-AMG, is clearly evident again”, according to Bernd Mayländer.
His co-driver, FIA associate Pete Tibbets (45 years old, from Great Britain) remains in permanent radio contact with the Race Control during deployment of the Safety Car. The Official F1™ Safety Car is also on call throughout the race weekend for the majority of the accompanying race series, such as the GP2™ and GP3™ Series and the Porsche Supercup.
Safety Car deployed six times so far in the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship™
The Official F1™ Safety Car has been deployed six times to date in the 2012 Formula 1™ season, with the drivers spending a total of 138.1 kilometres under Safety Car conditions. The longest Safety Car phase so far in 2012 came back in March during the second Grand Prix™ of the season at Sepang in Malaysia, lasting for a total of eight laps (44.3 km) before and after the race restart, owing to torrential rainfall. The 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship™ saw the Safety Car deployed a record-breaking 21 times, for a total distance of 452.3 kilometres.
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Official F1™ Safety Car in standard production guise
In keeping with the philosophy of Mercedes-AMG, the Safety Car does without technical modifications or retrofitted lightweight design measures as far as possible. The SLS AMG GT’s outstanding driving dynamics come courtesy of its thoroughbred sports car heritage: with its aluminium spaceframe construction, the Official F1™ Safety Car tips the scales at just 1620 kg (DIN kerb weight). Thanks to the dry-sump lubrication system, it has been possible to install the V8 engine very low down, giving the vehicle a low centre of gravity, too. And as a result of the engine’s positioning behind the front axle and the transaxle arrangement of the dual-clutch transmission on the rear axle, the car also has a favourable weight distribution ratio of 47:53 percent (front/rear). As is customary on racing cars, aluminium double-wishbone axles ensure high cornering limits, precise turn-in characteristics, superb agility, as well as low mass inertia during sudden changes of direction.