Mercedes-Benz SLS to become 2010 F1 safety car

This year's F1 season will mark the debut of the most spectacular and powerful Official F1 Safety Car of all time - the 571hp Mercedes-Benz SLS Gullwing, which will appear on track in almost production-standard trim. Taking over from the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG which has filled the role for the past two seasons, the vehicle is able to maintain the high speeds needed as it can accelerate from still to 62 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds. 

The Mercedes Benz SLS AMG combines high-tech, breathtaking design and unique gullwing doors like no other super sports car. The SLS AMG is an enticing mix of Mercedes-AMG motorsport experience and acknowledged Mercedes-Benz strengths. According to AMG, there are no go-faster bits on the official F1 safety car, but the exhaust has been tweaked for the benefit of track-side spectators and TV microphones. 

The SLS AMG was revealed at the 2010 Geneva Motorshow, distinguishable on the outside by the obvious F1 logos, carbon-fibre exterior mirrors and a characteristic roof light bar with integrated television camera.  It sits on an all-new carbon-fibre hood - the shape has been tested in the wind tunnel to ensure optimum airflow at the rear aerofoil. The aerofoil pops up when the car reaches 120 km/h and, together with the rear diffuser, provides the necessary rear downforce. LEDs are used for all light functions for the first time in the new, aerodynamically styled roof light bar.

The two centrally positioned green lights in the aerodynamically optimised light bar are illuminated when the car joins the field and has to overtake all the racing cars in front of it. Once the vehicle has assumed the leading position, the outer orange flashing lights are switched on to signal to the F1 drivers that no overtaking is allowed. The white stroboscopic lights in the headlamps and tail lights perform a general signalling function in that they always flash during the car's deployment.

Mercedes-Benz will be sending out AMG's E63 Estate, which will be on duty as the F1 medical car at races throughout the 2010 F1 season.

Volker Mornhinweg, Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, said: “Together with the entire AMG Team, I am very proud that the new SLS AMG is the official Formula One safety car.” 

“I’m sure all Mercedes-Benz and AMG fans will be excited to see the Gullwing model together with the new Mercedes GP PETRONAS team at the Formula One circuits.”

Germany ’s former DTM driver Bernd Maylander will be behind the wheel of the vehicle, with Pete Tibbetts sitting in the passenger’s seat.