Ultimate Guide: Mercedes Safety Car (Cost, Speed & Specs)

October 18, 2023
Tom Thorns

The Formula 1 safety cars are one of the most important aspects of the sport. Without them, drivers wouldn’t be nearly as safe as they are now.

There are two safety cars in F1 – the Aston Martin f1 safety car and the Mercedes (plus the virtual safety car). In this article, I’ll discuss the latter and give you a more detailed understanding of its performance and role in the sport.

Let’s begin!

What Mercedes Is Used for F1 Safety Car?

The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is the official safety car from Mercedes. It’s the replacement for the old AMG GT-R, and it comes with a suite of improvements. It’s not only visually more appealing but its performance is heads and shoulders above its predecessor.

Mercedes F1 Safety Car
Credit: Goodwood.com

The GT Black Series is a marvel of engineering, with sleek curves, a giant angled rear spoiler, and a more aggressive front splitter. It’ll also be a deep-red colour to stand out on the race track.

As for its technical specs, take a look below:

AMG Black Series (Current)AMG GT R (Old)
EngineHandcrafted AMG 4.0-liter V-8 Biturbo Engine with Flat Plane Crankshaft4.0-liter V-8 Biturbo
ValvetrainDOHC, 4 Valves per CylinderDOHC, 4 Valves per Cylinder
Engine Displacement3,982 cc3,982 cc
Horsepower720 hp (537 kW / 730 PS)585 hp (436 kW / 593 PS)
Redline RPM7,000 RPM6,250 RPM
Max Torque590 lb-ft at 2,000 – 6,000 RPM520 lb-ft at 1,900 – 5,500 RPM
TransmissionAMG 7-Speed DCT Dual-ClutchAutomatic 7-Speed
Top Speed202 mph (325 km/h)198 mph (318 km/h)
Acceleration 0 – 60 mph (96 km/h)3.1 seconds3.6 seconds

Already, you can see the improvement from the old AMG GT R to the new safety car - the AMG Black Series. The current Mercedes safety car has 165 more hp, 750 more max RPM, a higher top speed, and a faster acceleration.

In short, the new F1 safety car Black Series is an amazing vehicle - faster, more powerful, more aerodynamic, more responsive, and better-looking. It’s a major step forward no matter how you look at it.

Can You Buy the Mercedes Safety Car?

Yes, the Mercedes safety car is for public sale as the AMG GT Black Series. It’s essentially the same car used in F1, with no modifications in terms of performance or looks.

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series
Credit: CarAndDriver.com

Let me paint you a picture of this road beast.

It has large intercoolers, a large and angry-looking front grille, and carbon fibre is used everywhere (hatch, roof, hood, etc.) There are large air outlets present on the front hood, and the rear wing begs to fly freely through the wind.

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series
Credit: CarAndDriver.com

The new Black Series has improved control stability and braking thanks to the adjustable aero flap. Moreover, the V-8 720 hp engine roars like a lion, hungry for the road ahead.

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series interior
Credit: CarAndDriver.com

The inside offers a slick and sporty feel, with a microfiber steering wheel, microfiber seats, and microfiber instrument panels. The carbon fibre is present here as well, making everything look modern and sleek.

How Much Is the Mercedes Safety Car?

A Mercedes safety car GT Black Series costs around $300,000 (MSRP) but depending on the options you choose, paint, and destination charge, the price may go up by a lot (think $500,000 – $600,000). Right now, Mercedes has made only 1,700 GT Black Series and 400 are already promised for the US market.

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series available for sale
Credit: dupontregistry.com

The car is not exactly rare but based on its specs, there could be lots of buyers looking to get one. And the rare it gets, the costlier it will eventually become. Right now, on the open market, some Black Series models go around for 450,000 – 500,000€ (second-hand).

Mercedes has confirmed in 2022 that they’ve stopped production of the GT Black Series, with a little over 1,700 units having been completed. So, there’s no more chance at buying a brand-new one if they’ve sold already.

How Fast Does the Mercedes Safety Car Go?

The Mercedes safety car has a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h) and it accelerates to 60 mph (~100 km/h) in 3.1 seconds. It’s faster than the old AMG GT R, and even Bernd Maylander, its designated driver, is amazed at it.

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series drifting
Credit: RoadAndTrack.com

Here’s what he had to say – “I have been able to use this extraordinary vehicle on numerous occasions and I am amazed at how close it comes to a real race care.” Considering it packs 730 hp and it’s built with aerodynamics in mind, it’s no surprise an official F1 veteran like Maylander was simply blown away by how close it is to a thoroughbred race car.

The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is, so far, the most performant car built by Mercedes. It’s also the best of the two safety cars in Formula 1 but I’ll talk more about that later on.

Is the Safety Car Always Mercedes?

No, Mercedes isn’t always the designated safety car for official F1 races. It shares that honour with Aston Martin, the British car manufacturer. The AMG GT Black Series and the Aston Martin Vantage are the only two brands that provide the safety cars for Formula One for now.

Mercedes Safety Car in 1996
Credit: Formula1.com

The history of the safety cars is richer than you might imagine. The first official safety car was the Porsche 914/6, which went on the race track during the Canadian Grand Prix of 1973. Over time, other cars were used to fulfil this role, including:

  • Lamborghini Countach during the 1981 Monaco Grand Prix
  • Ford Escort Cosworth
  • Renault Clio
  • Fiat Tempra
  • Mercedes-Benz and AMG since 1996 until 2021
  • Aston Martin since 2021

Mercedes used to be the exclusive safety car manufacturer for Formula 1 for 25 years, between 1996 and 2021. Then, the first car from Aston Martin joined the fray in 2021.

Is the Mercedes Safety Car Faster than the Aston Martin?

The Mercedes safety car is definitely faster than the Aston Martin, reaching 202 mph (325 km/h) compared to 195 mph (314 km/h).

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series and Aston Martin V8 Vantage Formula 1 Safety Cars

Take a look at the comparative spec sheet for both cars:

Assessment CategoryMercedes-AMG GT Black SeriesAston Martin Vantage
EngineHandcrafted AMG 4.0-liter V-8 Biturbo Engine with Flat Plane CrankshaftTwin-Turbo 4.0-liter V-8
Horsepower720 hp (537 kW / 730 PS)503 hp (375 kW / 510 PS)
Top Speed202 mph (325 km/h)195 mph (314 km/h)
Acceleration 0-60 mph (95 km/h)3.1 seconds3.5 seconds
Maximum RPM7,000 RPM6,000 RPM
Peak Torque800 Nm586 Nm

As you can see, the Mercedes Black Series has a higher top speed, better acceleration, a higher max RPM, and more hp. Even though both the Mercedes Black Series and the Aston Martin Vantage are high-performance models, they’re not equal in performance.

However, don’t let that fool you. The Vantage is a very performant car in its own right. Plus, as an F1 safety car, it doesn’t have to compete against other race cars but handle flexibly and be reliable. Which the Aston Martin clearly is!

And that’s all I have for you to day regarding the Mercedes F1 safety car. It’s the most performant F1 safety car yet, it looks great, and it drives almost like a race car, according to Maylander and other racing drivers.


  1. Dupon Registry – Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Black Series for Sale
  2. GB Blog – Maylander Gets New Safety Car: “Almost a Real Race Car”
  3. MB USA – 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series Specifications
  4. Car Info – Specifications for Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R 585ps, (2017-2019)
  5. Motor1 – Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series Production Has Allegedly Ended