AMG to introduce driver ‘safety cell’ to V8 Supercars
The Erebus Motorsport/Stone Brothers Racing alliance has confirmed it will compete with an AMG-designed ‘safety cell’ inside its E-Class V8 Supercars when they make their debut in the class next season.
Existing versions of the cell, which takes driver safety to the highest level, has been developed for various AMG-supported racing programs including the latest DTM Mercedes AMG C Class Coupe and SLS GT3s.
At the core of the system is an elaborate carbon fibre structure that connects the AMG-designed seat to the chassis, which will be of a standard design in all V8 Supercars next year.
Developed by AMG in association with its partner HWA AG, the cell is said to contain six different crash structures and boost side impact protection levels.
As such the Erebus/SBR AMG V8 Supercars will be among the mostly technically advanced in terms of driver safety the sport has ever seen in Australia.
Indeed the methods used by AMG could benefit the entire series which will include Nissan joining the Ford and Holden fold as the Car Of The Future rules kick in from 2013.
AMG manager for Customer and Sports Ulrich Fritz told Speedcafe.com that AMG places safety at the core of its racing programmes just as much as performance.
“We are developing a concept together with Erebus and our partner HWA AG,” Fritz said.
“I think as everyone knows Mercedes has always been willing to push for increased safety. You can see that with the SLS AMG Mercedes GT3 this car is really state-of-the-art when it comes to safety.”
While the V8 Supercar is a customer program for AMG rather than a factory-instigated effort, it maintains a degree of input into the details behind the much-anticipated push into Australian touring cars.
“For sure we will not have a product run in V8 Supercars or any other series where we cannot a little bit influence it,” Fritz announced.
“We are already developing concepts but it’s not so far that we can see what it already looks like but together with Erebus we are looking into that (safety cells).
“For us the many priority, as Mercedes is, on the road and on the track is passenger and driver safety is our main focus.
“Performance is important in racing which we all know but safety is at least as important in the end.”
Erebus Motorsport chief executive Ryan Maddison said that in fact his squad formed the safety issue as a central component of its original pitch to AMG.
“One of the major components that we put forward with this proposal was safety because it is one of the pillars for AMG and Mercedes as a brand,” Maddison said.
“We knew that our representation had to have those features in it.
“We will make sure the car both technologically in performance and also the safety aspect is commensurate with what is required to be represented with the brand.”
“Erebus were able to present a very good business case and technical concept behind it for what they wanted to do and that’s why we agreed,” added Fritz of the project.
“But let’s make this crystal clear. In the end it is purely a private entry and Erebus has nothing to do with factory racing.
“I think it’s a really good story that a private team runs against all these factory teams and we are very proud to have Erebus there.”
Fritz said the V8 Supercars effort represents a new tier for the AMG brand in terms of motor racing links.
“We have professional links with DTM and with Formula 1. We have our Customer Sports program which is based on a car which everybody can buy (the SLS GT3),” Fritz explained.
“And now this (V8 Supercars) is a new tier for Customer Sports and we take this challenge seriously.”
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s recent story on AMG’s race to develop a V8 Supercar version of its M159 engine in time for the 2013 season
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s story on SBR’s first Car of the Future track test at Queensland Raceway last week
CLICK HERE for more on why the Mercedes program may keep SBR’s first COTF off the track testing scene for the remainder of the year