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Mercedes AMG Driving Academy 2010/2011 Overview

Words John Clark | September 20, 2010
Mercedes-AMG helps its customers to achieve flawless car control by offering a wide range Driver Training courses
Words John Clark September 20, 2010

Mercedes-AMG helps its customers to achieve flawless car control by offering Driver Training courses and events tailored to individual requirements. Here the focus is on driving pleasure, driving safety and passion, complemented by a top-quality support program including typical local culinary delicacies and professional customer care. The AMG Driving Academy program covers five skill levels (EMOTION, BASIC, ADVANCED, PRO and MASTERS) and offers the perfect event for any requirements. This may be anything from lifestyle-oriented events (EMOTION), and courses which take the participants through their first experience of driving at the limit (BASIC) on exclusive test and race circuits, to intensive race circuit training with data recording and individual coaching (ADVANCED, PRO, MASTERS), or pure driving pleasure on ice and snow in Swedish Lapland.

Spa-Francorchamps, the North Loop of the Nürburgring and Hockenheim are the legendary race circuits where licensed instructors with extensive motor racing experience pass on their expertise to the AMG drivers. Their aim is to set the pulse of each participant racing purely through the force of driving pleasure.

An overview of all of the events offered by the AMG Driving Academy:

EMOTION: these lifestyle-oriented events send a maximum of 32 participants off for exquisite gala menus on interesting routes through captivating scenery in cars provided by AMG. The AMG community sees the participants enjoy exciting events in very special locations. A tour of the AMG plant in Affalterbach at the outset, meanwhile, also offers them some exclusive insights. Lasting between one and three days, the events treat participants to top-class sporting events such as a DTM racing weekend or cultural highlights like the Bregenz Festival. Prices start from 290 euros.

BASIC: the focus of this training course is on ensuring safe and confident reactions behind the wheel. In a professional environment the participants develop the expertise to tackle their first few laps of driving at the limit, with a detailed theory-based introduction unit providing the basis. The instructors not only highlight the fundamentals of driving physics, but also look at seating position, steering wheel control, the correct line of sight and safety rules. The practical section gives the participants the chance to assess and enhance their driving skills in their own AMG cars or in models provided by AMG, and to explore the capabilities of the various driver assistance systems. This training course also focuses on understeer and oversteer, slalom and lane change manoeuvres, as well as braking and evasive manoeuvres around obstacles appearing suddenly. A team of mechanics from AMG is permanently on hand to assist.

BASIC Training courses take place on the German Hockenheimring, the Nürburgring Grand Prix race circuits and at the LuK Driving Center in Baden-Baden – thus ensuring total driving pleasure. The maximum group size is ten, with two participants sharing each car provided by AMG. One instructor is assigned to each of the maximum of five groups. As a highlight to round off the event, each participant has the opportunity to experience performance in its purest form from the passenger seat of a specially prepared C 63 AMG Performance Car or the SLS AMG Race Taxi, driven by one of the professional AMG instructors. Prices start from 990 euros.

ADVANCED: the second stage of AMG Training concentrates on developing driving skills and sporty driving. In addition to the fundamentals of driving physics, the theory introduction primarily covers cornering technique, the ideal line and braking points. However, the functioning of the various driver assistance systems, safety rules and behaviour required to ensure safety during the training also play a central role in this unit. The practical section of the course on the race circuit gives the participants the chance to put into practice what they have learned so far. Section training sees the instructors explore in detail the particular characteristics of each section of corners, while guided driving behind the instructor makes it easier for the participants to identify the ideal line and braking points. The ADVANCED Training courses generally use cars provided by AMG, so the participants have the opportunity to put various models from the current AMG range through their paces.

Professional data recording helps the drivers to analyse their personal driving style, allowing them to identify mistakes and put instructions into practice. The two-and-a-half day ADVANCED training courses take place at race circuits known around the world, such as Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Imola (Italy), Hockenheimring (Germany), Le Castellet (France) and Brno (Czech Republic). The AMG team of mechanics are on hand to answer all technical questions about the vehicles. ADVANCED training courses can accommodate a maximum of five groups, each of eight participants. One instructor is assigned to each group and two participants share each car. The event rises to a suitably thrilling climax with the chance for the participants to sit in the passenger seat as a professional racing driver takes them for a spin in the AMG Race Taxi. Prices start from 2590 euros.

PRO: this three-day event is held on the legendary North Loop of the Nürburgring (Germany) or in Le Castellet – on the race track in the south of France training is provided exclusively in the SLS AMG. Completion of the AMG BASIC Training, AMG ADVANCED Training or comparable driver training course is required to participate in the PRO Training. The AMG instructors take the participants through the particular characteristics of the circuits and give them a run-down of the training schedule, fitness issues and the health-related aspects of safe driving. A warm-up serves as a refresher of the fundamentals of driving dynamics and assists with the practical preparation of the participants.

After exploring the circuit one section at a time, the eight groups of eight participants drive around behind the guiding instructor. A co-instructor follows behind each of the groups. The drivers are then left to drive freely, with the option of being accompanied by an instructor in the passenger seat. All participants benefit from the knowledge of the experts in sports medicine accompanying the course and, if desired, the participants’ heart rates are recorded and evaluated through each day. Each morning sees the participants take part in “Driver Fitness”, a short training programme conducted by the sports physiologist.

In addition, the participants can have a data recording device fitted in the car.

The values recorded go beyond longitudinal and lateral acceleration, for example, to include data on personal driving style, which is then evaluated individually by an expert. The concluding AMG Competition in the form of a regularity test underlines the sporting character of the training. At the end of the event the participants can enjoy a passenger’s-eye experience of the circuit in the AMG Race Taxi. AMG mechanics and the team from Continental – an AMG Driving Academy technology partner – provide the participants with technical support throughout the event. Prices start from 2440 euros.

MASTERS Sports Trophy: the highest level of the AMG Driving Academy teaches the participants how to analyse the characteristics of a circuit and car flawlessly. Special assessment tests carried out according to the specially developed MASTERS regulations help each participant to explore his or her own potential and allow intensive competition with like-minded colleagues. A maximum of 24 drivers at each of the three events collect points for the overall classification. Completion of the AMG ADVANCED Training, AMG PRO Training or comparable driver training course is required to participate in the AMG MASTERS Sports Trophy. The event follows a similar pattern to a professional race series from the technical inspection of the cars to the podium ceremony. Plus, participants who are resident in Germany also have the chance to acquire a national Level A DMSB (German Motor Sport Federation) driver’s licence.

The two-and-a-half and five day MASTERS Sports Trophy is taking place in Le Castellet (France) and Brno (Czech Republic) in 2010, and in Arjeplog (Sweden) in 2011. Except for in Sweden, participants drive their own AMG cars, although the SLS AMG and SLK 55 AMG with the AMG Performance package are also available to hire. All participants’ cars are fitted with a data recording system. A data analysis expert and sports medicine input are both compulsory elements of the course, as is support from the AMG mechanics and also tyre experts from Continental.

Also making up part of the programme are the “Driver Fitness” training unit and the extensive theory section, sports medicine input, driver discussions and race circuit analysis. Prices start from 3890 euros.

Winter driving pleasure in Swedish Lapland

A very special experience is offered by the AMG Winter Sporting ADVANCED event, which takes place in Arjeplog, Sweden, near the Arctic Circle. Participants drive

the AMG high-performance cars provided exclusively on a closed-off ice surface. All the cars are fitted with special spike tyres, which ensure a precisely defined level of grip. Various handling courses, curves with different radii and a perfectly prepared vehicle dynamics area guarantee maximum driving enjoyment and an ongoing improvement in personal driving skills. A wide-ranging support programme, characterised by a typical local atmosphere and snowmobile tours, rounds off the four- and five day events in Swedish Lapland. Also included is a ride in the AMG Ice Taxi, a specially prepared AMG car fitted with the special spike tyres used by FIA WRC rally cars.

An exclusive experience is guaranteed courtesy of the AMG Lodge nestled in the breathtaking landscape of Swedish Lapland. Opened in 2009, the AMG-owned hotel on Mount Galtis near Arjeplog provides a fabulous view over the forests and lakes of the region. The exclusive rooms, excellent restaurant and large spa area including swimming pool and fitness studio guarantee a thoroughly pleasant stay. This event is priced at 3590 euros.

The AMG Winter Sporting PRO and AMG Winter Sporting MASTERS events provide an even more intense experience. The five-day AMG Winter Sporting PRO programme is a professional training course with a reduced number of participants, personal coaching and data recording. The aim here is to achieve flawless car control on ice and snow. The chance to drive the AMG Ice Taxi is a highlight of the event for every participant. The AMG Winter Sporting MASTERS event also lasts five days and features a competitive element. Participants enjoy exclusive use of one of the AMG high-performance cars which are made available. The intensive training programme with data recording is combined with two days of qualifying races. Each of these events is priced at 4950 euros.