What’s the one car Michael Schumacher cannot pass? The official Formula One Safety Car, of course! That’s the riddle Mercedes-Benz’ Dr. Dieter Zetsche asked before introducing the SLS AMG F1 Safety Car at the Geneva Auto Show.
The SLS AMG Safety Car then drove to the stage and its gullwing doors opened up to reveal the driver, Michael Schumacher and his passenger, Grand Prix teammate Nico Rosberg.
The SLS AMG at every round of the 2010 F1 season, ready to deploy whenever accidents or bad weather make it too dangerous to race.
The official safety car needs to be fast enough to lead the F1 grid at a high enough speed to prevent the race cars’ tires and brakes from cooling down or their engines from overheating. With a 6.3L v8 engine claiming 571 hp and 479.4 ft-lb. of torque, the SLS AMG should be up to the task.
As impressive as the standard-production SLS AMG is, the Safety Car receives a number of updates to fit its role. Apart from the F1 logos and integrated television camera, the Safety Car is distinguishable by its carbon-fiber mirrors and a new carbon-fiber hood. The rear aerofoil pops up when the car reaches 93 mph, and together with the rear diffuser, provides added downforce.
Inside, the Safety Car is equipped with monitors and a radio system to help driver Bernd Maylander and co-driver Pete Tibbetts see and hear what’s going on in the race. A second interior mirror is installed so Tibbetts can keep an eye on the F1 cars following the Safety Car. The central display on the instrument cluster and on the glove compartment provide the same marshalling signals the F1 drivers see in their cockpits.
The SLS AMG Safety Car will be joined by another Mercedes-Benz at F1 races. The C63 AMG Estate returns in 2010 as the official F1 Medical Car, ready to respond to race emergencies.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Formula One Safety Car