If you’re tired of seeing a Mercedes at the front of the field in Formula 1, then we’ve got some bad news for you: the German marque is once again set to supply the sport with its safety and medical cars in 2015.
Over the past five years, F1 has been using a gull-wing Mercedes SLS AMG as its safety car, but is now set for an upgrade for the new season with the arrival of the AMG GT S model.
The regular AMG GT was unveiled last year and has since gone into production, with the GT S boasting an extra 43bhp and a top speed of 190mph.
Of course, it won’t be able to explore the limits of its speed, given that the purpose of the safety car is to slow the field down in case of an incident.
For the 16th season in a row, the car will be driven by Bernd Maylander, a one-time Le Mans class podium finisher and DTM race winner.
“The gull-wing SLS AMG was my official car in Formula 1 for five years,” Maylander said. “Now I’m looking forward to the new Mercedes-AMG GT S, which I have been fortunate enough to get to know during its development phase. The new AMG sports car won me over immediately with its high-calibre race track performance.”
The old medical car has also been replaced for 2015, with Mercedes supplying an AMG C 63 Estate for usage across the course of the season.
Although incidents in F1 are never welcome, it is reassuring to know that those helping to maintain the high safety standards in the sport have the best tools at their disposal.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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