AMG fans had the chance to drive the SLS AMG GT3 for the first time. The AMG Driving Academy is exclusively using SLS AMG GT3 vehicles at the most demanding MASTERS skill level. With these unique events, the AMG Driving Academy – which was started successfully in 2007 – is offering participants an opportunity to experience motor racing first hand whilst benefitting from what is an unprecedented high standard of safety. The new SLS AMG GT3 MASTERS is a preliminary highlight of the AMG Driving Academy, which is continually extending its programme to provide an extremely wide variety of events.
The module-based SLS AMG GT3 MASTERS programme consists of four stages: EXPERIENCE, WARM-UP, TRAINING and COMPETITION. During the three-hour EXPERIENCE stage, participants start off with the road version of the SLS AMG to benefit from some driving guidance. After an introduction and a seated “rehearsal”, they take to the wheel of the SLS AMG GT3 for themselves, and are again guided safely around the race track by a lead vehicle. Participants then step into the passenger seat of an SLS AMG GT3 racing taxi driven by an experienced professional racing driver to enjoy a few quick laps around the circuit.
During the second stage – WARM-UP – the participants are given a detailed theory-based introduction to the technology and controls of the SLS AMG GT3. After a fitness check, during the subsequent training session the participants are able to familiarise themselves fully with the racing version of the gull-wing model: the programme covers such aspects as acceleration, braking, changing gear, overtaking and also a variety of other handling exercises, all carried out on sports tyres. Plus, participants who are resident in Germany also have the chance to acquire a national DMSB (German Motor Sport Federation) driver’s licence.
COMPETITION forms the highlight of the SLS AMG GT3 MASTERS
In stage three – TRAINING – the SLS AMG GT3 vehicles are initially driven on sports tyres, after which they are switched over to slick tyres. The participants train with an experienced personal trainer, who they can book on an hourly basis. The focus lies squarely on the systematic enhancement of skills such as cornering techniques, perfect braking, acceleration and changing gear. Professional data and video recordings are also used for consistent improvement of race track driving technique. The highlight of the SLS AMG GT3 MASTERS is the COMPETITION stage, which is expected to start at the end of 2012: after a training session which is specific to the race circuit being used, the participants will complete initial assessment tests, followed by individual and team competitions.
Participants can take part in all MASTERS events using either the SLS AMG GT3 vehicles which are made available or driving their own vehicles. All drivers also benefit from sports medicine input. And while there are no particular requirements for taking part in the EXPERIENCE stage, when it comes to the WARM-UP, TRAINING and COMPETITION stages, participants have to complete appropriate race track training sessions. Prices for SLS AMG GT3 MASTERS events start at 1500 euros. Each event can be booked separately. The next opportunity to enjoy a unique GT3 experience with AMG is 17/18 September on the track in Groß-Dölln.
Exemplary level of safety thanks to a carbon-fibre safety cell
The racing version of the gull-wing was conceived as a customer sports car for sprints and long-distance racing according to the near-series FIA GT3 rulebook. In a set-up similar to that of the Mercedes-Benz DTM cars, the seat shell of the SLS AMG GT3 is located in a high-strength carbon-fibre (CFRP) safety cell. Thanks to its special shape, the safety cell, which is bolted to the rollover cage and the aluminium spaceframe, offers far greater protection for the driver’s shoulders, hips and legs. The seat shell also features the HANS (Head and Neck Support) system, is individually foam-padded and equipped with a six-point seat belt, thus maximising occupant safety. Additional safety is provided by the steel rollover cage, which also gives further reinforcement to the aluminium spaceframe.
Tailor-made programme to meet all requirements
The AMG Driving Academy programme offers a wide selection of events which allow ambitious sports car enthusiasts to improve their car control and further enhance their driving safety. Founded by Mercedes-AMG in 2007, the AMG Driving Academy comprises 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 through to intensive race circuit training with a competitive edge. The level of difficulty is tailored to the participants’ individual requirements. Prices for the AMG Driving Academy programmes start from as little as 370 euros.
New lifestyle events in 2011 include the EMOTION Tour Wine & Dine, EMOTION Tour Golf, EMOTION Tour Montreux and EMOTION Tour DTM Show Event Munich, all of which focus on enjoyment and community spirit.
The AMG Driving Academy adopts a strategy of expansion
The AMG Driving Academy training courses not only take place on the legendary racing circuits of Europe, such as the North Loop of the Nürburgring, the Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg or the Grand Prix circuit at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. This year, the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg (Austria), newly opened in 2011, will also play host to the AMG Driving Academy. Special events for AMG fans from the USA and China will also be held at such racing circuits as the Laguna Seca Raceway (California), Road Atlanta Racetrack (Georgia), Lime Rock Park (Connecticut), the Shanghai International Circuit and the Zhuhai International Circuit. Due to increasing demand, AMG is also preparing tailor-made events for Japan and Canada too.
Enjoy driving pleasure on the frozen lakes of Swedish Lapland
A particularly appealing training event takes place from January to March each year in Arjeplog (Sweden), not far from the Arctic Circle: the AMG Winter Sporting ADVANCED and PRO event. Participants drive the AMG high-performance cars provided exclusively on a closed-off ice surface, and the Electronic Stability Program ESP® is generally disabled. Specially developed training programmes guarantee an optimum combination of training success and driving pleasure. 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 drive or 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 whirlpool and fitness studio help to ensure a pleasant stay.
Prominent instructors experienced in the world of motorsport
Licensed trainers with extensive racing experience pass on their vast knowledge with great professionalism. The AMG Driving Academy’s 23-man team, lead by Chief Instructor Reinhold Renger, includes some prominent names such as Susie Stoddart (28, GB, DTM driver for Mercedes-Benz), Bernd Schneider (47, five-time DTM champion), Bernd Mayländer (40, driver of the Official F1™ Safety Car) and Thomas Jäger (34, coordinator for AMG Customer Sport). All of the instructors of the AMG Driving Academy have extensive experience in motorsport, significant technical know-how and excellent teaching skills.
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 – such as the SLS AMG or the new CLS 63 AMG. Alternatively AMG hire cars are also available for a select number of events.
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.
AMG and social networking
Via the AMG Driving Academy’s Facebook, Flickr and YouTube pages, customers and fans can keep up to date with all activities, exciting event reports and glimpses behind the scenes included. It is also possible to stay in touch with like-minded people and with Mercedes-AMG GmbH. One highly exclusive way of sharing your passion for the brand with other AMG enthusiasts is the AMG Private Lounge. This official online forum enables owners of an AMG-Mercedes to exchange their insider knowledge with others and to maintain direct contact with Mercedes-AMG.
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