Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series Becomes The Fastest And Meanest F1 Safety Car Yet
Mercedes-AMG announced that the GT Black Series will be the new F1 Safety Car for 2022 replacing the GT R from 2021, with the four-door GT 63 S 4MATIC+ being the Medical car. This is not the only fleet for the 2022 season, sharing the role with the AMG-powered Aston Martin Vantage Safety Car and DBX Medical Car.
Both AMG vehicles sport a red livery with black and white graphics. Instead of having the traditional light bar on the roof that would ruin aerodynamics, the AMG GT Black Series Safety Car has extra LEDs integrated on the upper area of the windshield, on the rear spoiler, and on the rear plate. When the orange lights are switched on the F1 single-seaters are forbidden from overtaking the Safety Car, while the green lights allow them to do so. The rear wing also has a set of high-definition cameras, one sending live feed inside the car for the co-driver, and another one for capturing video footage for the TV broadcast. Another cool feature is the orange SC light modules on the rear quarter panels that are lit when the Safety Car is on duty.
Inside, the AMG GT Black Series Safety Car comes with the Track Package which includes a roll cage made from bolted tubular titanium, and lightweight bucket seats. What is different from the road-going version is the six-point safety seatbelts, a cupholder for water bottles on the side cushions of the seats, and two tablets mounted on the center console and on the dashboard.
The latter are showing live feed from the rearview camera and the TV broadcasting allowing the co-driver Richard Darker to keep an eye on what is happening on the track. There is also an InCar hotspot with WLAN, a high-resolution GPS system, two red buttons for controlling radio comments, two rotary knobs for adjusting the volume, special warning lights, and a second radio system for emergencies.
Despite remaining stock in terms of powertrain, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is probably the fastest Safety Car ever around the track. The twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 produces 720 hp (537 kW / 730 PS) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque, sending power to the rear axle through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Thanks to that, the Black Series accelerates from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 3.2 seconds, and has a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h).
The immense power combined with the track-focused suspension setup and the massive aero components gave it the title of the fastest production car around the Nurburgring, clocking a lap time of 6:43.616 back in 2020. Although the Safety Car has received special suspension tuning from AMG for all racetracks, it will still be a lot slower compared to modern F1 race cars – but then again, this rule applies to all production models.
As for the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC+ Medical Car, it is also a big step up from last year’s C 63 S AMG Estate, with Mercedes describing it as “the fastest and most powerful medical car in Formula 1 history”. Just like the production model it is fitted with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 producing 630 hp (470 kW / 639 PS) sending power to all four wheels through the AMG Speedshift MCT 9G gearbox and the 4MATIC+ system. This makes it quite fast with a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 315 km/h (196 miles).
As a Medical Car it is designed for rapid emergency response and has a crew of up to three medics, and waits on standby in the pit lane during the entire race. Interior equipment includes three tablets, InCar Hotspot and WLAN, six-point and four-point seatbelts, seats welded on the floor of the car, special gloves for the paramedics, a defibrillator, a breathing apparatus, a rescue cutter, and two handheld fire extinguishers. It also comes with a specially designed light bar on the roof mounted on a carbon-fiber scoop for lower drag, and illuminated plates.
Mercedes-AMG has been an official partner for Safety Cars since 1996, with the fastest variants of CLK, SLK, SL, SLS, C-Class, and AMG GT models taking up this role over the years.
Bernd Mayländer, driver of F1 Safety Cars since 2000, said he is very happy to sit behind the wheel of the AMG GT Black Series this year, describing it as a very close experience to a thoroughbred race car and a major step up compared to the GT R he drove last year. The 2022 F1 season will start with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 18-20.