Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance arm, AMG, is trying to keep the buzz going on its SLS supercar. Bernd Mayländer has been driving Formula 1’s safety car since 2000, and since the 2010 season, he’s been behind the wheel of the SLS pacer. But starting with September’s Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps, F1’s safety-car duties were relinquished to the new-for-2013 SLS AMG GT. Based on the SLS, the GT model is even more powerful at 583 hp. It also is equipped with a performance suspension and a revised seven-speed dual-clutch automatic optimized for quicker shifts.
The SLS AMG GT is AMG’s response to high-performance competitors like the Audi R8 GT. It also serves to remind customers that the SLS, despite the addition of an open-top version, is anything but a boulevard cruiser. What distinguishes Mayländer’s safety car from the regular SLS GT is an even louder exhaust—a nod to Formula 1 aficionados, those of us who have little interest in suppressing exhaust notes.
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While we hope for a safe and accident-free race at the next round of the F1 championship in Singapore, we’re quite certain the skunkworks team in Affalterbach would be rather pleased with a number of safety-car laps led by the SLS AMG GT—so long as it’s not the result of Michael Schumacher or Nico Rosberg parking their Mercedes-AMG W03s. Read full story »