With the fastest things on four wheels in hot pursuit, the Official F1 Safety car needs to be fast and agile in its own right to maintain the pace required to keep temperature in the tyres and air flow to the sensitive engine of F1 racecars.
For the 2008 F1 season, a Mercedes-AMG has yet again been chosen with the SL 63 AMG Roadster acting as the official Safety Car, accompanied by the C 63 AMG Estate acting as the Medical Car.
Powered by an AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine producing 386kW, the SL 63 AMG Roadster, driven by 36-year-old Bernd Mayländer, can reach 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds.
Blisteringly quick on the road, the SL 63 AMG Roadster has received additional coolers for engine oil, transmission oil, cooling water and power steering in the interest of reliability.
To fend off brake fade, the car has also been fitted with six-piston fixed calipers and 390mm discs, while the rear features four-piston fixed calipers with 360mm rotors.
The dedicated safety car also weighs 220kg less than its series-production counterpart with the omission of certain creature comforts – including the mechanical and hydraulic components of the convertible Vario roof.
Possibly the most powerful ambulance in the world, the C 63 AMG Estate Medical Car features a slightly less powerful rendition of the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine, which delivers 336kW of power and 600Nm.
On board is driver Dr. Jacques Tropenat (France), who is a medic and amateur race driver and his co-driver Dr. Gary Hartstein (Belgium), who is the official FIA Grand Prix Chief Medical Officer.
The luggage compartment offers ample space for the full complement of emergency equipment, including defibrillator and respirator.