Mercedes-Benz presents new Safety and Medical car

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With the new Official F1™ Safety Car and the new Official F1 Medical Car, Mercedes-AMG, the performance brand of Mercedes-Benz, is launching into the 2008 Formula 1 season. The Safety Car, based on the SL 63 AMG, and the Medical Car, derived from the C 63 AMG Estate, have the task of ensuring maximum safety at all 18 Formula 1 races.

The two specially prepared AMG high-performance automobiles will be on duty for the first time when the Grand Prix season kicks off in Melbourne, Australia during the weekend of 16 March. The specialists from the AMG development team and the PERFORMANCE STUDIO are responsible for the development, production and servicing of the vehicles.

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.

In the 2008 Formula 1 season, Mayländer 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 (which will come in handy as the first ever night race is scheduled this season).

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.

C 63 AMG Estate: the new Official F1™ Medical Car

Alongside the SL 63 AMG Safety Car, a second AMG high-performance automobile will celebrate its premiere at this season’s first Grand Prix in Melbourne, Australia: the C 63 AMG Estate Official F1™ Medical Car. At the start of every Grand Prix, the high-speed AMG estate car will follow the Formula 1 field on the first lap. This is because the first lap represents a critical phase of the race in which the field of Formula 1 vehicles is especially tightly bunched. Also in the event of an accident during the race, the Medical Car is the first vehicle on the scene and is able to guarantee the fastest possible emergency treatment.

This quite special C 63 AMG Estate has excellent credentials for such a challenging task, where literally every second counts: the high-performance estate vehicle is powered by the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine, which delivers 336 kW/457 hp and 600 Newton-metres of torque. The AMG sport exhaust system boasts larger pipe diameters and new rear silencers, this resulting in a considerably more distinctive sound that comes out of the two chrome-plated dual tailpipes. In order to guarantee greater reliability, the cooling of coolant, engine oil, transmission oil and power steering has been optimized, this being visible also from the new AMG front apron with its considerably larger cooling-air openings. The power from the engine is transmitted via the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 7G-TRONIC PLUS, which blips the throttle when changing down for even greater smoothness. Perfect traction is guaranteed by the combination of 3-stage ESP® and differential lock with 35 percent locking effect.

New thread chassis and AMG high-performance braking system

Like the SL 63 AMG Safety Car, the C 63 AMG Estate Official F1™ Medical Car also features a newly developed thread chassis combining sportscar-like driving dynamics with versatile adjustment possibilities, thus additionally allowing the chassis setup to be customized to a specific racetrack. Equally responsible for perfect road feel is the selected wheel/tyre combination: the 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels of 8.5-inch (front) and 9.5-inch (rear) width are fitted with Pirelli tyres of sizes 255/35 and 285/30, respectively. Concealed behind the attractive multi-spoke wheels is a powerful AMG high-performance braking system, which guarantees extremely short stopping distances with its internally ventilated and perforated composite brake discs on the front axle of size 360 x 36 mm with six-piston fixed callipers together with 330 x 26 millimetre, internally ventilated and perforated discs on the rear axle. The newly developed cooling system for the especially highly stressed front-axle brakes optimizes the fading resistance of the braking system at high ambient temperatures.

F1 logos, roof bar and flashlights as distinctive marks

At first glance, the C 63 AMG Estate Official F1™ Medical Car closely resembles its standard-production counterpart. However, a closer inspection reveals the new AMG front apron with its larger cooling-air openings. At the rear, the cooler which has been integrated into the diffuser insert points to the active cooling of the rear-axle differential. Like the Safety Car, the Medical Car, too, draws attention to its special role on the track through its F1 logos, roof bar and strobe-like LED flashlights at front and rear. Enhanced visibility in darkness or bad weather is ensured by the LED-illuminated number plate with Medical Car lettering on the boot lid tailgate.

The Official F1™ Medical Car is driven by Dr. Jacques Tropenat (France), who is a medic and amateur race driver. His co-driver is Dr. Gary Hartstein (Belgium), who is the official FIA Grand Prix Chief Medical Officer. Both of them are accommodated in AMG sports bucket seats with 4-point seatbelts, as are the two medical assistants in the rear. Two monitors in the centre console help the crew to supervise the action on the racetrack, while an on-board two-way radio system is responsible for communication with the race management. The functional feel of the interior is marked by black leather appointments and carbon-fibre trim parts. The 365-millimetre AMG performance steering wheel with its flat underside on the steering wheel rim and AMG aluminium shift paddles guarantees perfect control over the vehicle. With its unrivalled volume of 485 litres, the luggage compartment offers ample space for the full complement of emergency equipment, including defibrillator and respirator.

Transfer from motor sport to series production

Both the SL 63 AMG Official F1™ Safety Car and the C 63 AMG Estate Official F1™ Medical Car impressively document the transfer from motor sport to series production. With reference to the example of the SL 63 AMG, numerous components in the Safety Car are available straight from the factory. The AMG Performance Package for the SL 63 AMG includes, for instance, the 360-millimetre composite disc brakes on the front axle; the rear-axle differential lock; the 19-inch AMG light-alloy forged wheels and the AMG performance steering wheel. The same is true of the Medical Car: the AMG Performance Package for the C 63 AMG (saloon and estate models) includes, for example, the composite disc brakes on the front axle of size 360×36mm and the rear-axle differential lock. The 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels are optionally available.

AMG PERFORMANCE STUDIO responsible for development

The development, track-testing and production of the two Safety Cars and the two Medical Cars – in both cases, there is one emergency vehicle and one replacement vehicle available – is carried out by the specialists from the AMG development team and the AMG PERFORMANCE STUDIO. This involves drawing on over 40 years of know-how from the field of motor sport as well as the wealth of experience in the design of high-performance sports automobiles. Numerous test drives were carried out on various Formula 1 racetracks in order to tune the suspension and verify all the systems and components.

Since 1996: eight generations of safety cars from AMG

For 12 years AMG has continuously provided the Official F1™ Safety Car in the top flight of international motor sport. The Official F1™ Medical Car has carried the AMG insignia since 1996.

All AMG Safety Cars at a glance:
1996: C 36 AMG (W 202)
1997: CLK 55 AMG (C 208)
2000: CL 55 AMG (C 215)
2001: SL 55 AMG (R 230)
2003: CLK 55 AMG (C 209)
2004: SLK 55 AMG (R 171)
2006: CLK 63 AMG (C 209)
2008: SL 63 AMG (R 230)

All AMG Medical Cars at a glance:
1996: C 36 AMG (W 202)
1997: E 60 AMG (W 212) starting with Grand Prix in Imola (Italy)
1998: C 55 AMG (S 202)
2001: C 32 AMG (S 203)
2004: C 55 AMG (S 203)
2008: C 63 AMG (S 204)

As early as 1984, an AMG E-Class Coupé with V8 engine was used occasionally as the Medical Car. Consequently, the activities of the Affalterbach-based company are also evidence of Mercedes-Benz’s long-standing commitment to Formula 1.

Source: Mercedes-Benz