Affalterbach, Germany - AMG has provided safety cars for Formula One every season since 1996, and this, it says, is the most powerful one yet.

The official safety car for the 2018 F1 season is this 430kW AMG GT R and, with a top speed of 318 km/h, it’s also the fastest. The safety car leads the field around the circuit when bad weather or crashes mean that racing has to be paused.

Bernd Mayländer, who will again be the safety car driver, said: “I’m very much looking forward to my new company car - it’s a highlight in terms of driving dynamics, a step up from the AMG GT S of recent years.

“Of course, ideally the safety car should be deployed as rarely as possible - but when we have to safely bunch up the Formula One field and lead it around the track, it must be able to maintain a minimum speed to prevent the tyres and brakes of the F1 cars from cooling down too much - and the engines from overheating!”

The GT R needed only a few modifications for its new role, the most obvious being the light bar on the roof. It’s mounted on a carbon-fibre air scoop that’s designed to offer the least possible air resistance while optimising the airflow to the rear wing, its positioning and profile the results of extensive wind tunnel tests.

The track package with roll-over protection system and the ceramic high-performance compound braking system are straight of the AMG options catalogue.

While Mayländer focuses on the track and at the same time keeps an eye on the field in the rear-view mirror, co-driver Richard Darker maintains radio contact with race control and monitors two iPads. The display of the left one shows the international TV broadcast, while the right one can feature either an animated display of their current positions or current lap times - all of which is handled by an in-car hotspot and wireless network.

Formula One race director Charlie Whiting explained: “When a safety car intervention is required during a Grand Prix, we need a car that’s not only capable of setting a pace that allows the F1 drivers to keep tyres and brakes working at the right kind of temperature so  they don’t struggle when racing resumes.”

IOL Motoring