For anyone who misses the days of F1 cars having screaming V8 or V10 engines, the championship’s safety cars have provided a welcome injection of internally-combusted drama. What’s not to like about a Mercedes-AMG flying down the main straight of your favourite track, filling the grandstands with noise via a non road-legal exhaust?
With the current Merc-supplied safety car having three seasons under its belt however, it’s time to change. And the obvious choice is quite clearly an even angrier and more powerful version, isn’t it?
We are - of course - talking about the AMG GT R. Other than the anticipated deployment of a much louder exhaust, it’s mechanically identical to the road car, which means 577bhp from a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. That makes this AMG the most powerful safety car ever used in F1.
It’s been given the optional the AMG Track Package - which includes four-point harnesses, a fire extinguisher and a roll cage - and been fitted with carbon ceramic brakes. On the outside you’ll find a ruddy-great light bar, position on a carbonfibre air scoop “that is designed to offer the least possible air resistance.” The positioning of both elements was decided following “extensive wind tunnel tests,” Mercedes says.
Moving inside, there are a pair of iPad screens which co-driver Richard Darker can use to keep an eye on what Lewis Hamilton and his chums are up to behind. The left one is for the TV broadcast, while the other one can show either the positions of each car in the field, or lap times. The car is one big, V8-powered WiFi hotspot, and there’s also a radio system onboard to keep the safety car duo of Bernd Mayländer and Darker in touch with race director Charlie Whiting.
The car will make its debut at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend - the opening round of the 2018 season.