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NEWS: Introducing the Most Powerful F1 Safety Car Ever!

Formula One has a new Safety Car for the 2018 season and it's the most powerful the sport has ever seen

The AMG GT R is the quickest Safety Car in the sport's history so far

A new Mercedes-AMG Safety Car will be used in the up-coming 2018 F1 season and will debut at this weekend's opening round in Melbourne, Australia.

The AMG GT R is the quickest Safety Car in the sport's history so far, with the top-of-the-line model's 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine producing 585hp and powering it to a top speed of 318km/h (198mph).

The AMG GT R is the 11th Official F1 Safety Car to have been provided by Mercedes-AMG and replaces the AMG GT S, which was first used in 2015.

2018 marks Mercedes-AMG's 23rd consecutive season leading the F1 field around the race track when wet weather, accidents or debris require its deployment.

The powerful AMG GT R features the driving dynamics of the AMG GT3 race car and spent a large part of its development being honed on the "Green Hell", the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

It's packed full of the latest high-tech automotive technology

It's packed full of the latest high-tech automotive technology, from the AIRPANEL active air control system in the front apron to the rear double diffuser, active rear-wheel steering and nine-way adjustable traction control.

All of the improvements and additions help to boost the car's performance and driving dynamics, enabling it to meet the requirements for the tough job of being F1's Safety Car.

This includes being able to maintain a set pace that prevents the tyres and brakes of F1 cars from cooling and the engines from overheating.

Bernd Mayländer is the man behind the wheel of the F1 Safety Car and he's joined by co-driver Richard Darker, who maintains radio contact with race control.

The interior of the AMG GT R includes two tablet devices, used for monitoring what's going on out on the race track. One shows the live race feed, and the other features vehicle positions and lap times.

'I am very much looking forward to my new company car'

"I am very much looking forward to my new company car," Bernd explained. "It is an absolute highlight in terms of driving dynamics and is one level higher up still than the AMG GT S of recent years.

"Of course, ideally the safety car should be deployed as rarely as possible - but when we have to safely bunch up the Formula One field and lead it around the track, we will be superbly equipped with the AMG GT R."

The AMG GT R is joined by the AMG C 63 S Estate, which is the Official F1 Medical Car and is driven by Alan van der Merwe. His co-driver is F1 deputy medical delegate Dr Ian Roberts, and they are accompanied by one or two assistant medics from a nearby hospital.