In racing, a safety car is used to collect the race cars on the track following a yellow flag condition, generally for an accident, debris or rain. While the safety car laps the track at a much slower speed than the cars being raced, it must still maintain a brisk enough pace to keep tires warm and engines cool.
That requires both a (relatively) fast car and a competent driver, and since the year 2000, German racer Bernd Mayländer has piloted the safety car for the Formula 1 series. Mayländer’s career as a safety car driver began in 1999, when he drove a Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG in the Formula 3000 series.
The 1999 CLK 55 AMG put out an impressive (for the day) 360 horsepower, but performance cars have evolved quite a bit since then. While the horsepower has steadily increased, aerodynamics and electronics also play a key role in contemporary performance cars.
In 2003, AMG began to pay more attention to the aerodynamics of the F1 safety car, which was once again a CLK 55 AMG (Mercedes had used a CL 55 AMG in 2000 and 2001). In 2004, the CLK 55 AMG was swapped for an SLK 55 AMG, which gave way to a CLK 63 AMG in 2006.
By then, safety car output exceeded 500 horsepower, which was good enough until the brand debuted the 571-horsepower SLS AMG safety car in the 2010 season. For 2013, Mercedes will launch an all-new safety car, based on the new SLS AMG GT coupe.
While we seriously doubt the cars are stored in a horse barn, we get the symbolism that Mercedes-Benz is shooting for in the video. The video is interesting from an F1 history perspective, but we still want to know how fast each car is, with driver and co-driver, around a few of the better-known F1 tracks.