German Carmakers Tapped for Motorsport Safety Cars
German cars Mercedes-Benz, Porsches and BMWs are loved by their owners for their meticulous engineering. But private consumers aren't the only ones who've noticed their capabilities. So have the organizers of some of the most prestigious motor racing series in the world. And though both compete at the top levels, it's not for racing cars that they've been tapped this time. It's for safety cars.
Mercedes AMG has been providing the emergency vehicles used in Formula One for decades, and have just revealed their latest. While the SLS AMG "Gullwing" carries on as the safety car (which sets the pace in case of an obstruction on the track) the same as last year, the emergency medical team are dispatched in the new C63 AMG Estate. The powerful wagon carries the same 481-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 as the production model with the optional AMG Performance Package, but upgrades with emergency lights, four individual bucket seats with six-point harnesses, two integrated dashboard monitors, a communications radio and a boot full of emergency medical equipment.
Meanwhile the American Le Mans Series has tapped Porsche to provide both its safety car and medical car. Those tasks are being taken up by the Panamera Turbo sedan and by the Cayenne sport-utility vehicle, respectively.
Finally the MotoGP bike racing series has turned to BMW for its latest safety car. For staying ahead of all those racing bikes, the BMW 1 Series M Coupe has been lightened with carbon-fiber and polycarbonate body panels, fitted with a large rear spoiler and upgraded with a titanium exhaust system, revised suspension and larger brakes. There's also a full roll cage, racing buckets and harnesses to keep the crew in place.
Gallery: Motorsport Safety Cars