Motorsports are undoubtedly some of the most dangerous sports in the world. With vehicles that can go from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds or less, the odds for accidents are significantly high, especially in less than favorable conditions.
That’s why safety cars are crucial in high-speed circuits. Also known as pacing cars, these vehicles set a pace for the rest of the drivers under circumstances where accidents are more likely, such as if there’s inclement weather, or if the track has many sharp corners. And as time goes on, the technology used in these cars become more sophisticated, making them better at their job.
Here are a few models that are proving to be the best in their league this year.
This car has been a staple in Grand Prix Motorcycle racing’s years-long partnership with BMW. And the M2 takes this tried-and-tested car to the next level.
It’s got the roll cage, harnesses, and fire extinguisher to answer any situation, and its large rear wing makes it well-equipped for slippery conditions. More importantly, the removal of the silencers, exhaust flap system, and catalytic converters means that this car will be heard and heeded no matter what happens.
Volvo V60 Polestar
The Polestar is marketed as one of the safest safety cars ever. It has the roll cage, communications kit, and airbags to ensure driver safety, and can emit warning sounds — which, along with the bright, orange lights attached to the roof, can’t fail to go unnoticed.
And though its 460 bhp engine and 4-wheel drive mean the Polestar is less powerful than the other cars on the list, it’s sure to keep to a secure pace without endangering anyone else on the track.
Mercedes AMG C63 S
With a 510 bhp engine usually found in F1 cars, this car is dynamite wrapped in a sleek package. And though the majority of modern cars rely on printed circuit boards (PCBs) for high-grade performances, particularly advanced PCBs are needed to create engines this potent.
As with many devices, cars can overheat when processing heavy tasks. That’s why the C63 S uses a PCB that’s more durable than most, with touch sensors that regulate thermal activity near the engine. Typically, you’d use mechanical switches, but these aren’t as long lasting.
The C63 S isn’t just capable of winning any race it supervises, however. Boasting a 6.3 L fuel capacity and space for both a driver and medically licensed co-driver, it counts a respirator and defibrillator among its emergency medical supplies.
The R8 has been in multiple series ever since it debuted in 2007. And that’s because it has nearly everything you want in a safety car, with a 610 bhp engine and a 4-wheel drive perfect for handling wet and slippery conditions, as former F1 driver Yannick Dalmas will attest to.
In fact, it’s only been modified a few times over the years. And it’s one of the few naturally aspirated cars still in production, making it more reliable than cars with forced-induction engines, turbo engines, or superchargers.
The Camaro debuted in 1967 at the Indianapolis 500, the series that introduced the safety car back in 1911. And today, it continues to serve in this capacity — whether it be in coupe or convertible form. In fact, for the Indy500’s 100th anniversary, a 50th anniversary edition Camaro SS with a 450 bhp V8 engine was used.
Replicas of the Camaro are also offered to the public. These are marketed as limited edition and sold in groups of 500, making them great collector cars.