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Mercedes’ AMG GT S replaces the retiring SLS AMG as F1’s official safety car

Mercedes AMG GT S Safety Car
Image used with permission by copyright holder
We’re all going to miss the gullwinged beauty that is the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. It was a wonderful throwback to the legendary SL 300, but with modern sophistication and power, great for driving to, and showing up in, just about any place you’d want to be noticed. What made it even cooler was the car’s day job was as the official safety car for Formula 1. Now that the car has ended its production, its run as pack leader for F1 comes to a close, but a new Mercedes, the AMG GT S, steps in as its successor.

Packing the only car with a V8 to hit the track, the AMG GT S has a 4.0-liter twin turbocharged powerplant that produces 510 horsepower, giving it the power to propel to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds from a standstill. It’s also fitted with a modified performance exhaust to blast out its deep V8 baritone bel canto, distinguishing it from the V6’s packed in each race car.

Mercedes AMG GT S Safety Car
Bernd Mayländer, driver of Formula 1’s Safety Car since 2000 Image used with permission by copyright holder

The car has to meet strict requirements set by the FIA, just as any other vehicle on the track. Guiding the grid around the circuit, particularly in response to a hazard, isn,t easy. It has to be able to so at high speeds so that the cars that follow don’t have tire temperature dropping while engine temp rises.

Mercedes AMG GT S Safety Car
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s pretty much configured identically to the road going version in this regard, only kitted with a commanding orange light bar and a special safety car livery. The inside sports a video camera, for the broadcast feed, and a set of iPads for the co-driver. These display a live feed of the race while another has information regarding car locations on the track. The AMG GT is also loaded with a host of FIA-specific pack of radio communication equipment, telemetry sensors and more.

We’ll get to see the AMG GT in action in a few short days when it premiers at the Australian Gran Prix Melbourne on March 15th. Hopefully, we’ll only see it during the parade lap.

Alexander Kalogianni
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Alex K is an automotive writer based in New York. When not at his keyboard or behind the wheel of a car, Alex spends a lot of…
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