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Mercedes SLK 55 AMG 2004

The Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG 2004 is the sixth generation of AMG powered Mercedes-Benz to work as the official Formula One Safety Car, starting as far back as 1996 with the C 36 AMG. Other Safety Cars have been; CLK 55 AMG (1997), CL 55 AMG (2000), SL 55 AMG (2001), CLK 55 AMG (2003) and SLK 55 AMG (2004).

The new Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG: leader of the F1 pack 

Prior to its UK launch later this year, the new Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG will show its mettle at this weekend's Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Mercedes-Benz supplies the official Safety Car to the Formula One World Championship and the SLK 55 AMG will star at all 18 rounds of the Grand Prix season.

Thanks to modifications to its braking system, chassis, cooling and exhaust systems, as well as weight-reduction measures, the SLK 55 AMG Safety Car will be showing off its optimised driving dynamics. And the improvements will prove very useful: the all-new Roadster will have to lead the world's fastest drivers around the Northamptonshire circuit at high speed in the event of an emergency, while ensuring maximum safety.

Professional racing driver Bernd Mayländer will be behind the wheel, taking on the challenge of keeping the Formula One cars out of harm's way in the event of crashes and bad weather conditions. Mayländer will have to position himself at the head of the field and drive at high speed, leading the Formula One cars. If the speed becomes too low, the high-tech F1 engines could experience problems. For example, they could overheat due to an inadequate supply of cooling air, while the tyres could cool too much and lose grip. Fast laps at speeds of up to 150mph at the world's Grand Prix tracks are an everyday occurrence for the Safety Car, which masters these situations without breaking sweat.

Roof lights send out clear signals to the Formula One drivers

Two visual features make the Safety Car stand out from the series-produced

SLK 55 AMG: the FIA Formula One logos and the light system on the roof. The green lights are turned on by Mayländer's co-driver, Peter Tibbets from the FIA, when the Safety Car first pulls out and has to overtake all of the F1 cars. Once the Safety Car has taken the lead, the orange lights signal to the Formula One drivers that overtaking is strictly forbidden. The white strobe lights in the headlights and tail-lights remain active whenever the car is on circuit.

Communication with the race control is paramount and the Safety Car is equipped with a sophisticated radio system, TV monitor and multiple cameras. This extra equipment requires a separate electrical circuit and alternator.

Mercedes-Benz and AMG: Six generations of high-performance safety

The SLK 55 AMG is the sixth generation of AMG powered Mercedes-Benz to work as the official Formula One Safety Car, starting as far back as 1996 with the C 36 AMG. Other Safety Cars have been; CLK 55 AMG (1997), CL 55 AMG (2000), SL 55 AMG (2001), CLK 55 AMG (2003) and SLK 55 AMG (2004).

AMG engineers combined their 37 years of motorsport and high-performance vehicle development with numerous test drives at Formula One circuits in order to determine the Safety Car's suspension settings and handling characteristics. Safety Car driver Bernd Mayländer was involved in every stage of the development.

There are actually two identical SLK-Class Roadster Safety Cars at each of the 18 Formula One meetings in 2004, both are accompanied by two dedicated AMG engineers who oversee their operation.

No matter who wins at Silverstone this weekend, when it comes to high-performance and safety, Mercedes-Benz and the SLK 55 AMG will be way out in front.


Mercedes SLK 55 AMG 2004

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