Mercedes AMG Driving Academy 2010/2011 Overview

Mercedes-AMG helps its customers to achieve flawless car control by offering a wide range Driver Training courses

by  John Clark  | 

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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.

AMG Driving Academy 2010/2011: Maximum driving safety and pleasure

Affalterbach, Germany, September 20, 2010

The AMG Driving Academy was set up to give keen drivers the opportunity to hone their sports driving skills under professional guidance and to experience unforgettable events with like-minded enthusiasts. The programme offers a wide selection of events which allow ambitious sports car enthusiasts to improve their car control and further enhance their driving safety. Participants are able to experience the exceptional performance of the SLS AMG in numerous events at which the super sports car is either made available by the AMG Driving Academy or can be hired. In addition to the diverse programme held on European race tracks, the AMG Driving Academy is also able to provide American sports car fans with tailor-made race track training sessions, for example on the Laguna Seca Raceway in California. A new addition to the team of experienced instructors is 27 year-old Scot Susie Stoddart, a current DTM driver in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class for the TV Spielfilm Persson Motorsport team – and the first woman to have scored some points in the "new" DTM.

Founded by Mercedes-AMG in 2007, the AMG Driving Academy provides five different programmes: EMOTION, BASIC, ADVANCED, PRO and MASTERS. These offer everything from lifestyle-oriented events and courses which take the participants through their first experience of driving at the limit, all the way to intensive race circuit training with a competitive edge. The level of difficulty is tailored to the participants' individual requirements. In the AMG MASTERS Sports Trophy, participants who are resident in Germany have the opportunity to acquire a national Level A DMSB (German Motor Sport Federation) driver's licence. Prices for the AMG Driving Academy programmes start from as little as 290 euros.

Famous race tracks with exciting names

On legendary race tracks such as the North Loop of the Nürburgring and the Grand Prix circuit in Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, AMG drivers and enthusiasts gradually and safely discover the limits. In this way, each participant automatically improves their driving safety. Licensed trainers with extensive racing experience pass on their vast knowledge with great professionalism. All of which means the learning experience is directly linked to driving pleasure and passion.

For American AMG fans the driver training courses take place on two of the world's most exciting race tracks: the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California, and the Road Atlanta Racetrack in the state of Georgia. Two programmes offering different degrees of difficulty are available which are perfectly tailored to the abilities and requirements of the participants.

In addition to newcomer Susie Stoddart, other prominent members making up Chief Instructor Reinhold Renger's team of drivers include Bernd Schneider and Bernd Mayländer. With five DTM titles, as well as one each in the ITC and FIA GT Championships, 44 year-old Bernd Schneider ranks as one of the most successful German racing drivers. 39 year-old Bernd Mayländer, meanwhile, took to the starting grid for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM and FIA GT Championships over a period of eight years, and since 2000 has been the permanent driver of the Official F1™ Safety Car – in the current Formula 1 season he is helping to ensure maximum safety at the wheel of the new SLS AMG.

Data recording for precise analysis and rapid progress

Advanced training methods ensure the participants in all AMG Driving Academy events are quickly in touch with the fundamentals of driving dynamics, allowing them to discover the limits of man and machine in a danger-free environment. Data recording techniques refined in motorsport are used to record not only individual sector and lap times, but also longitudinal and lateral acceleration. This enables the team to conduct fast and precise analysis of each participant's progress – which is usually accompanied by a racing pulse and a real buzz. Depending on the event, the programme also features sports medicine input from Dr Markus Schmitt, official Mercedes-Benz DTM motorsport doctor, as well as a sports physiologist.

AMG MASTERS Sports Trophy makes for a top-class event

Ensuring a racing heart and maximum car control are the aims of the AMG MASTERS Sports Trophy. This extremely exclusive and top-class AMG competition series sees the participants benefit from intensive and individual race circuit training, combined with input from the field of sports medicine. In 2010/2011, the two-and-a-half to five-day events are taking place in Le Castellet (France), Brno (Czech Republic) and Arjeplog (Sweden).

Winter driving pleasure in Swedish Lapland

A very special experience is offered by the AMG Winter Sporting event, which takes place in Arjeplog, Sweden – not far from 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. A wide-ranging support programme for the event characterised by a typical local atmosphere 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.

Since the beginning of 2009 participants in the AMG Winter Sporting event have been able to enjoy the facilities of the newly-built AMG Lodge which nestles in the breathtaking landscape of Swedish Lapland. 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.

AMG high-performance cars double up as cars for hire

Depending on the type of event, the participants drive either their own AMG cars or AMG high-performance models laid on by the AMG Driving Academy. There are also cars for hire, for example the new SLS AMG, SLK 55 AMG, C 63 AMG, E 63 AMG and also the SL 63 AMG – all equipped with the AMG Performance package.

Standard features of all AMG events, meanwhile, are top-class hospitality – including culinary specialities, as well as accommodation in high-class hotels. The AMG Driving Academy also arranges complete incentive packages for companies, customers and business partners. These may take the form of lifestyle-oriented events along the lines of an EMOTION tour or intensive race circuit training at Hockenheim, Spa-Francorchamps or other race circuits. Whichever option is chosen, AMG will be pleased to put together a tailor-made programme to suit the occasion.

Details of event dates and other information may be found at www.mercedes-amg.com/driving-academy or from the AMG Driving Academy hotline on +49 7144 302-575.

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