The enforcement of the safety car came after a number of crashes in the 1973 Formula One racing season. Clay Regazzoni was involved in a horrendous crashed at the Kayalami circuit in South Africa and Roger Williamson succumbed to his injuries after his crash at Zandvoort in Netherlands. In both these cases and many others, the rescue measures that were to be taken in case of an accident were almost certainly hampered by speeding cars on the track, and some measure was direly needed to bring other drivers under a controlled pace, bringing in the concept of the Formula One pace cars.
Between 1973 and 1997, before the safety car duties were officially handed over to Mercedes Benz, a variety of safety cars were use depending on the track visited. Here’s a list of the top most iconic Formula One Pace Cars that have been used in Formula One in between that era.
Photo credit: Porsche Werk
The first-ever use of the Formula One pace car was seen at the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix, unfortunately not in the best ways. The Yellow Porsche 914 pace car driven by former Formula 1 privateer Eppie Wietzes entered the track in front of the wrong race leader, enabling several drivers to gain a lap on the rest of the drivers.
Photo credit: FavCars
Possibly the most glamorous pace car ever to show up, the Lamborghini Countach was used as the official pace car between 1981 – 1983 at the most glamourous racing circuit in the world, Monte Carlo. Crowds would have loved a pace car that would finally match the sound of a mighty F1 engine.
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
The Escort RS Cosworth four-wheel drive rally car was used at the 1993 British Grand Prix where Alain Prost won the race and collected important points towards his fourth world championship campaign.
Porsche 911 GT2
Image credit: Autosport
The last of the air-cooled 911s, the 993 Porsche GT2 cup car was used at the 1995 Belgium Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps where the world saw the toughest dogfight between Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill.
The Renault Williams Clio came out at the 1996 Argentinian Grand Prix after the crash of Pedro Diniz’s Ligier Mugen.
Image credit: Lamborghini-talk
The last time when a Lamborghini was used as a Formula One pace car. During the Grand Prix Molson du Canada held in Montreal on June 11, 1995, this Lamborghini Diablo was seen on the race track where French driver Jean Alesi scored his only Grand Prix victory.