Archive for September 2008

The AMG Driving Academy [3 TEXTS]


Affalterbach, Germany, Sep 21, 2008

AMG Driving Academy 2008/2009: Maximum driving safety and pleasure [TEXT 1]

The AMG Driving Academy was set up to give keen drivers the opportunity to hone their sporty 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.

The AMG Driving Academy, founded by Mercedes-AMGin 2007, consists of five different programmes: EMOTION, BASIC, ADVANCED, PRO and MASTERS. These provide 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.

Legendary race tracks such as the Nürburgring Nordschleife and the Spa-Francorchamps grand prix circuit in Belgium are the venues, as AMGdrivers 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.

Data recording for precise analysis and rapid progress

Advanced training methods ensure the participants are quickly in touch with the fundamentals of driving dynamics and allow them to discover the limits of man and machine in a danger-free environment. A racing pulse and broad smile come as standard. 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. Depending on the event, the programme also features sports medicine input from official Mercedes-Benz DTM motorsport doctor, Dr Markus Schmitt and a sports physiologist.

AMG Masters “Sports Trophy” offers a unique prize

Ensuring a racing heart and maximum car control are the aims of the AMGMasters “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. AMG specialists use their vast pool of expertise to work out a personal chassis set-up with each individual participant. In 2008 the three or four-day events are taking place at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), the EuroSpeedway Lausitz (Germany) and the Ascari Race Resort in Spain. 25 drivers at each of the three events collect points towards an overall score. Awaiting the winner is a quite unique first prize: the chance to drive this year’s AMG Mercedes C-Class from the DTM.

Wintry 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 AMGhigh-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-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.

Depending on the type of event, the participants drive either their own AMG cars or AMG models laid on by the AMG Driving Academy. There are also cars for hire, e.g. the C 63 AMG, SL 63 AMG, CLS 63 AMG with the Performance Package and CLK 63 AMG Black Series. Standard features of all AMG events, meanwhile, are top-class hospitality – including culinary specialities – and accommodation in high-class hotels.

Incentives for companies: an unforgettable experience

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, the Nürburgring or other race circuits. Whichever option you choose, AMG will be pleased to put together a tailor-made programme to suit the occasion.
For more details on dates and further information go to or contact the AMG Driving Academy hotline on +49 7144 302-575.

Driver Training courses and events to suit all requirements: From EMOTION to MASTERS [TEXT 2]

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 programme including typical local culinary delicacies and professional customer care. The AMG Driving Academyprogramme 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), and pure driving pleasure on ice and snow in Swedish Lapland.

Spa-Francorchamps, the Nürburgring Nordschleife 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.
Below is an overview of all the events offered by the AMG Driving Academy:

* Emotion: These lifestyle-oriented events send a maximum of 28 participants off on interesting routes through captivating scenery in cars provided by AMG. A tour of the AMG plant in Affalterbach, meanwhile, offers them exclusive insights. The AMG Community sees the participants enjoy exciting events in very special locations. One to three days in duration, the events also treat participants to top-class sporting events, for example, and exquisite gala menus. Prices from 245 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 Hockenheimring and EuroSpeedway Lausitz race circuits and at the Bosch testing centre in Boxberg – driving pleasure is therefore guaranteed. 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 driven by one of the professional AMG instructors. Prices from 910 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 covers primarily 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’ve learnt. 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 try out various models from the current AMG range.

Professional data recording helps the drivers to analyse their personal driving style, allowing them to identify mistakes and put instructions into practice. The three-day ADVANCE Training courses take place at race circuits known around the world, such as Valencia (Spain), Zandvoort (Netherlands) and the Hockenheimring (Germany). The AMG team of mechanics are on hand to answer all technical questions. 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 from 2440 euros.

* Pro: This four-day event is held exclusively on the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany – the world’s toughest race circuit. Completion of the BASIC Training is required to take part in the PRO Training. Participants drive either their own or hired AMG cars and are given a theory introduction before driving out onto the 20.8-km Nordschleife. The AMG instructors take the participants through the particular characteristics of the circuit and give them a run-down of the training schedule, fitness issues and the health-related aspects of safe driving. A warm-up in the driving safety centre at the Nürburgring serves to refresh memories on the fundamentals of driving dynamics and assists the practical preparation of the participants.

After exploring the Nordschleife one section at a time, the eight groups of eight participants drive around the Nürburgring 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. On the AMG PRO Training and AMG MASTERS “Sports Trophy” courses, official Mercedes-Benz DTM motorsport doctor, Dr Markus Schmitt, oversees this area. 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 ‘Ring in the AMG Race Taxi. AMG mechanics and the team from Pirelli – an AMG Driving Academy technology partner – provide the participants with technical support throughout the event. Prices from 2410 euros.

* Masters “Sports Trophy”: The highest level of the AMG Driving Academyteaches 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. The 25 drivers at each of the three events collect points for the overall classification, with a unique first prize awaiting the winner – the chance to drive the current AMG Mercedes C-Class from the DTM. Completion of an AMG ADVANCED, 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 also have the chance to acquire a national Level A DMSB driver’s licence.

The three-day MASTERS Training courses take place at the Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) and EuroSpeedway Lausitz (Germany) race circuits and the Ascari Race Resort in Spain. Participants drive their own AMG cars, although the SLK 55 AMG Black Series and CLK 63 AMG Black Series are available to hire at an extra charge. All participants’ cars are fitted with a data recording system. A data analysis expert and sports medicine input from the official Mercedes-Benz DTM motorsport doctor, Dr Markus Schmitt, are both fixed elements of the course. Technical assistance from the AMG mechanics and Pirelli tyre experts both come as part of the package, as does support from AMGchassis specialists. Similarly to professional motorsport, this allows every participant to work out an optimum chassis set-up tailored to the demands of the particular circuit. Also on the programme are the “Driver Fitness” training unit and the extensive theory section including a chassis seminar, sports medicine input, driver discussions and race circuit analysis. Prices from 3510 euros.

Wintry 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 and snowmobile tours, rounds off the four-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. The five-day AMGWinter 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 AMGIce Taxi is a highlight of the event for every participant. Prices: 3440 euros/4810 euros.

The AMG Driving Academy instructors: Learning from the fastest [TEXT 3]

If there’s one thing the instructors at the AMG Driving Academyall have in
common it’s the ability to drive cars fast. However, a range of other skills are also required to give the participants on the various AMG Training courses an understanding of fast driving and safe car control. Technical know-how is equally as important as teaching skills, the ability to empathise and sporting fitness.

AMG Chief Instructor and active racing driver Reinhold Renger is the man in overall charge of conveying the various elements of the training courses to the participants and accompanying the groups during the multi-day events. His team includes former DTM driver Thomas Jäger, plus racing drivers and instructors Hari Proczyk, Roland Rehfeld, Bernd Mayländer (also the current Formula One Safety Car driver), Dieter Glemser, Ruben Zeltner, Klaus Graf and Peter Ebner.

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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More Service With Free SetraCard


Hannover/Ulm, Germany, Sep 30, 2008

* New vehicle customers of Setra receive “in series” a guaranteed payment facility of 10,000 euros
* Comprehensive range of services includes parts purchasing
* UTA service provider takes over handling of cashless supply

Setra, a Daimler Brand, will offer all German new vehicle customers an additional service with the SetraCard from the beginning of 2009.

The advantages of the new SetraCard carrying the Ulm bus brand logo, which is available for all Setra models of the TopClass 400, ComfortClass 400 and MultiClass 400, are very obvious: with the card every new Setra vehicle customer will receive a guaranteed payment facility of 10,000 euros for the first four years if repairs are needed or in the event of a breakdown. With this additional service facility, customers can also invoice the purchase of parts and vehicle-related accessories besides maintenance and repair services. The SetraCard can be used at all authorised EvoBus service partners in the whole of Europe, i.e. at over 600 service outlets. The processing procedure with the card is as uncomplicated and simple as with the Omniplus ServiceCard that has already proved a success.

The customer receives the vehicle-related SetraCard when taking delivery of their registered new vehicle. UTA, the service company specialising in commercial goods and passenger transport, handles the cashless supply. Setra will take care of the yearly fee for the SetraCard. The bus operator can apply to UTA for the additional function as a fuel card with toll, ferry and toll sticker service.

The SetraCard service range at a glance

* Invoicing of maintenance and repair services
* Purchase of parts and vehicle-related accessories
* Omniplus 24 h Service (emergency service in the event of a breakdown)
* TireService
* Replacement vehicle from the BusPool (only Germany)
* VAT Service
* Invoicing Service with electronic data transfer

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Mercedes, 180° from expected. The GLK.


Stuttgart, Germany, Sep 29, 2008

* Mercedes-Benz is continuing its integrated marketing campaign for the new GLK under the slogan: “Mercedes, 180° from expected. The GLK.”

* Campaign targets all communication channels

* Focus on the distinctive design of the GLK-Class

During the run-up to the model’s market launch in October 2008, Mercedes-Benz is expanding its comprehensive marketing campaign for the GLK-Class to include print advertisements and television commercials. The new compact SUV combines the original angular shape of the classic off-roader with the typical design features of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, while at the same time reinterpreting both. It thus presents new facets of the brand and, thanks to a chassis design that is functional, attractive, and concise in equal measure, the GLK also sets new standards in the segment for compact SUVs.

“Our print campaign and the TV spot focus on the typical characteristics of the GLK — the striking form and surprisingly different design,” says Dr. Olaf Göttgens, Vice President Brand Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars. “With the GLK we are providing a new opportunity for customers to enter the SUV world of our brand. And for the launch of this vehicle we have used every communication channel in order to come into direct dialogue with our customers and, in particular, young target groups.”

The claim “Mercedes, 180° from expected. The GLK.” refers to the model ’s extraordinary design features. Mercedes-Benz launched its comprehensive marketing campaign in March 2008 across all communication channels, with activities ranging from advertisements in print media to TV commercial, product placements, special events, a Webspecial, and extensive CRM activities.

Print ads and TV commercial

The photographer team of Warren du Preez & Nick Thornton Jones, which is well known for its light painting technique, has juxtaposed the expressive design of the GLK with artificial light arrangements, thereby showcasing the model in a completely new manner. The advertisements will be placed in high-circulation general-interest magazines and daily newspapers.

The claim “Mercedes, 180° from expected. The GLK.” is also taken up in the television commercial, which runs under the title “It Can’t Be.” Here, the two legendary Hollywood stars, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, are just as astonished to see the GLK as the car ’s female passenger is astonished to see them. It’s a completely unexpected encounter for everyone. The reaction of the Hollywood stars, who today still stand for a style that is timeless, serves as the highest compliment for the surprisingly different design of the GLK-Class. The television commercial will be broadcast on all public and private channels with a high audience rate, as well as on Mercedes-Benz TV, the brand channel of the Stuttgart-based car manufacturer.

Focus on events and communication through direct contact

A competition known as “The design:project” recently offered European design students an extraordinary opportunity to experience and creatively analyze the GLK and its distinctive design even before the official launch of the model. The competition called on the students to use the GLK as an inspiration for creating new design objects. The first prize went to young designers of the Istituto Marangoni in Milan. The students interpreted design elements of the Mercedes-Benz GLK as objects from everyday life, and presented these design items in a fashion shoot setting in a novel way, as objects of desire.

The “GLK Driving Experience” event focuses on personalized individual contact with existing Mercedes-Benz customers and potential buyers. The traveling driving presentation, which is visiting popular European vacation spots, high-end shopping malls, and luxury hotel chain partners, offers interested participants the opportunity to experience for themselves the outstanding driving comfort of the GLK in a relaxed atmosphere. The GLK Driving Experience was launched in August 2008 and will continue until March 2009.

Product placements and online communication

The GLK had its first major presentation to the public back in May, when it appeared in the blockbuster movie “Sex and the City.” The vehicle was also used as a key visual, along with top model Eva Padberg, during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin. Also last spring, Mercedes-Benz launched a Webspecial at , which is being advertised in various banners on the Internet as well. The Webspecial offers users the opportunity to actively participate in the design of a music video, use a moving image configuration to put together their own GLK, and communicate interactively with the vehicle’s designers. The mobile configurator, as well as extensive additional campaign content such as “Questions for GLK Designers” and “Sex and the City” downloads, are also available as mobile specials for cell phones at .

The TV ad for The New GLK

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Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S: Thrilling high-performance roadster


Suttgart, Germany, Sep 29, 2008

The new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S opens up astonishing dimensions when it comes to open-top driving. Delivering 478 kW/650 hp, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and a maximum speed of 335 km/h, this two-seater cabriolet surpasses the existing benchmark among open-top super sports cars – the SLR McLaren Roadster. Both vehicles feature a fully retractable folding soft top capable of withstanding the high speed and are made of carbon fibre. This endows both models with a very high degree of safety and extreme torsional stiffness. In addition to increased power, the new SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S features even more dynamic suspension tuning and improved aerodynamics. While enjoying exceptional performance, the new roadster’s occupants in no way lose out in terms of comfort or the vehicle’s suitability for everyday use. With its sporty, premium-quality interior appointments and distinctive motorsport pedigree, the new SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S is limited to 150 vehicles and will inspire the most discerning automotive enthusiasts.

Spectacular dimensions in open-top driving are opened up by the new Mercedes-Benz SLRMcLaren Roadster 722 S. With an output of 478 kW/650 hp, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 335 km/h, this open two-seater betters the standard set for open-air super-sports cars by the SLR McLaren Roadster. Both have a fully recessible soft top suitable for high speed driving, and are made from carbon fibre. This produces a very high level of safety and extremely high torsional strength. In addition to a higher engine output, the new SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S has an even more dynamic suspension setup and further aerodynamic improvements.

By naming this new model variant the SLR Roadster 722 S, Mercedes-Benz
is recalling the historic victory won at the classic Mille Miglia long-distance race in 1955 by British motor-racing legend Stirling Moss and his co-driver Dennis Jenkinson, in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with the starting number 722. The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S continues the legend of the successful 1950s SLR racing sports cars, with innovative technology adopted from the world of motorsport.

Engine hand-built by AMG

The powerful heart of the SLR Roadster 722 S is a supercharged 5.5-litre V8 engine which is hand-built in the Mercedes-AMG engine shop in Affalterbach. The special strengths of this high-performance engine include extraordinary responsiveness to movements of the accelerator, a high torque and an unmistakable V8 sound. Moreover, with an output of 478 kW/650 hp and 820 Nm of torque, power is on tap almost to excess (SLR McLaren Roadster: 460 kW/626 hp, 780 Nm). Accordingly the new model variant meets the wishes of the most discerning customers for even more sportiness combined with excellent day-to-day practicality.

The five-speed automatic transmission developed by Mercedes-Benz is designed for high performance. It is specially configured for a very high torque, and allows the driver to choose between two sets of shift characteristics. As a result the roadster achieves performance figures that are even outstanding for the high-end sports car segment: the SLR Roadster 722 S absolves a sprint from zero to 100 km/h in a breathtaking 3.7 seconds, and 200 km/h is reached in 10.6 seconds. The maximum speed is 335 km/h, which is unrivalled by any other series-production roadster.

Even more dynamic suspension setup

The spring and shock absorber configurations of the suspension are stiffer, and the body has been lowered by 10 millimetres at the front and rear. This ensures the greater handling stability of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster 722 S, with a significant improvement in handling dynamics. The lightweight, 19-inch forged aluminium wheels allow a view of the red-painted brake callipers on the highly-resistant carbon-fibre/ceramic brake discs, which make for impressive deceleration figures.

Sophisticated aerodynamics and a fabric soft top suited to high-speed driving

The outstanding qualities of the 722 S are complemented by the fully recessible fabric soft top, which blends harmoniously into the flowing lines of the roadster. The weave structure of this high-tech roof material reflects the carbon-fibre look, guarantees full day-to-day suitability in any weather conditions and allows the vehicle a top speed of 335 km/h – a unusual figure for a roadster. Thanks to favourable aeroacoustics, conversation during open-air journeys is still possible at well over 200 km/h.

The soft top opens and closes semi-automatically in around ten seconds, combining comfort expectations with the purist nature of the roadster. For opening, the roof needs to be unlatched at the windscreen frame and lifted slightly, after which it folds down electrically. The front section of the soft top features an integral aluminium cap, which effectively prevents "ballooning" at high speeds.

The handling and aerodynamics of this high-end roadster were optimised for high speeds in the wind tunnel. The aerodynamic concept follows that of the SLR Coupé, with an airbrake integrated into the boot lid, an enclosed underbody and a diffusor in the rear bumper to ensure the greatest possible downforce on the rear axle. The so-called airsplitter at the front end augments this downforce, while small wheel spoilers reduce turbulence at the rear axle. The result is precise handling and steering at high speeds.

Outstanding performance and safety thanks to carbon fibre technology

In technical terms the 722 S benefits from the long experience of Mercedes-Benz and its Formula-1 partner McLaren. With the exception of two aluminium frames, the body is completely of carbon-fibre materials (CFRP). This makes it highly exceptional among high-performance sports cars. Especially for the roadster, the sophisticated carbon-fibre technology was developed further for the monocoque. The result is low weight, exemplary energy absorption and therefore a high level of occupant safety, plus a torsional rigidity that is unprecedented for an open-top car. It allows outstanding handling characteristics that are otherwise only found in closed super-sports cars.

A high level of safety is provided by unique carbon-fibre crash structures, steel-reinforced A-pillars and two fixed rollover bars. Other safety features include adaptive airbags, knee and sidebags, belt tensioners and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

A thoroughly sporty appearance

The roadster has a crystal antimony grey paint finish, which highlights the sculptured look of this high-performance car particularly effectively. The carbon-fibre technology is visually complemented by the black, grid-like air vents on the bonnet and the front and rear light modules with palladium grey surrounds.

In the interior, outstanding lateral support is guaranteed by sports bucket seats upholstered in a combination of semi-aniline leather/Alcantara. Striking visual highlights are provided by the contrasting seams in 300 SL red, the embossed 722 S lettering on the head restraints and the likewise red seat belts. Frequently used controls such as the shift and parking brake levers are lined in particularly high-grip and moisture-absorbing suede leather. In the interior too, the generous use of carbon-fibre underlines the high-performance philosophy and adds a particularly puristic touch.

Exclusive appointments

The exclusive appointments include two-zone automatic climate control, a high-quality BOSE Premium sound system, a multifunction sports steering wheel with shift paddles and a navigation system with an integrated radio and CD player.
This limited edition of 150 examples is predominantly hand-built at the Formula 1 workshops of McLaren in Woking, England, and is available from January 1, 2009.

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F1 Singapore - SUN - The Race - Lewis Hamilton Extends Championship Lead with Third Place


Singapore, Singapore, Sep 28, 2008

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton finished the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix, the first night race in Formula 1 history, in third place. After 61 eventful laps (309.087km) with two Safety Car periods, Lewis came home 5.9sec behind winner Fernando Alonso (Renault). Heikki Kovalainen ended up 10th. After 15 out of 18 races, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes took the lead in the Constructors’ Championship with 135 points ahead of Ferrari with 134 points. Lewis extended his lead in the drivers’ ranking to 84 points ahead of Felipe Massa (77 points) who did not score today. Heikki is sixth with 51 points.

The Race Summary

The start: Lewis was second on the grid and second after the opening lap. Heikki had qualified fifth and attacked Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) at the first corner, but he was touched by Kubica at the second corner and lost two positions; he was seventh after lap one.
The race, lap 10: Lewis was second with 3.3sec behind Massa; Heikki followed in seventh place.
Lap 14: The Safety Car was deployed, following an accident of Nelson Piquet (Renault).
Lap 17: The pit lane was opened and both Vodafone McLaren Mercedes pitted; Lewis was stationary for 11.5sec and Heikki 12.0sec. One lap later, Lewis was ninth and Heikki 15th.
Lap 20: Re-start. Lewis was eighth and Heikki 14th.
Lap 27: Stop-and-Go penalty for Kubica; Lewis was seventh. One lap later, he passed Mark Webber (Red Bull Renault) and improved to sixth. Heikki was 12th.
Lap 30: Lewis moved up to fifth place, but got stuck behind David Coulthard (Red Bull Renault). Heikki got stuck behind Jenson Button (Honda) and was 11th.
Lap 33: Jarno Trulli (Toyota) was the last driver to pit and Lewis was now fourth.
Lap 34: Heikki came in for his second stop (8.4sec) and rejoined the race in 13th place.
Lap 40: After the pitstop of Nico Rosberg (Williams Toyota) Lewis was third, one lap later he overtook Coulthard and improved to second. Heikki was 12th.
Lap 42: Lewis pitted for the second time (7.7sec) and was now seventh.
Lap 50: All drivers had completed their pit stops; Lewis was now third and Heikki 11th.
Lap 51: The accident of Adrian Sutil (Force India Ferrari) caused a second Safety Car period.
Lap 54: Re-start.
Finish (61 laps): Lewis ended up third; Heikki was 10th.


Lewis Hamilton
"A positive end to a difficult weekend at this fantastic new venue. I started well, but then my rear tyres faded and, although we had good pace, I wasn’t in a position to challenge Felipe ahead of me. During my first pit stop I lost a bit of time because everybody came in due to the Safety Car period. After that I was unfortunately stuck behind David and although I was clearly faster it was really difficult to overtake him. After the second re-start, I tried to stay as close as possible behind Nico; however, I didn't want to take chances – particularly as the Ferraris were outside the points. Also, this is not a track where overtaking is easy. The first night race in Formula 1 history was great fun, and I now look forward to the forthcoming double-header in Japan and China."

Heikki Kovalainen
"I made a good start and was going to pass Kubica round the outside at the first two corners. Unfortunately he touched me and almost spun me around. My underfloor was slightly damaged as a result. I lost momentum and two cars overtook me. When the Safety Car came out and the pitlane was opened a couple of laps later, Lewis and I came in and I had to wait behind him until it was my turn. It then was a strange race and most of the time I was in traffic with no overtaking chances. Halfway through the race I had brake problems and had to conserve them until the finish. I’m happy for Lewis and the team now that he has extended the championship lead and we are on top of the Constructors’ rankings. I will now go for it in the next races and help to make sure that we stay ahead in both championships.”

Ron Dennis
"Today's race was a very exciting one, full of incidents, triggering Safety Car interventions that had a significant influence on the final outcome. In the last few laps, having seen Kimi's accident, we advised Lewis not to attempt to overtake Nico but instead to settle for third place and the seven-point lead in the Drivers' Championship that the resulting six points netted him. Heikki's race was spoiled by having to queue in the pits. Overall, then, the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix was a hugely successful event, and we're delighted to have emerged from it with the lead in both the Drivers' and the Constructors' Championships."

Norbert Haug
"A great Formula 1 premiere at night. Lewis extended his championship lead with third place which is a good result. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes leads now in the Constructors' rankings as well which is also not bad. Thank you to the organisers and Bernie and his team for their efforts – this spectacular event will create a big response."

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