In this way, the AMG Driving Academy, which was established in 2007, demonstrates that driving enjoyment and concern for the environment are perfectly reconcilable. The principle of carbon neutrality is based on three pillars which are now applied at all AMG Driving Academy events:
1. avoidance of the unnecessary wasting of resources.
2. implementation of efficiency-enhancing measures, such as deployment of the latest AMG high-performance vehicles. Example: the new SLK 55 AMG with cylinder shut-off system consumes 30 percent less fuel than the previous model.
3. AMG determines the CO2 emissions generated at a Driving Academy event on the basis of the so-called "carbon footprint" and balances out this volume of emissions through its involvement in climate protection projects.
Enhancing active driving safety
The new programme from the AMG Driving Academy comprises professionally designed training measures which will enable ambitious sports car enthusiasts to improve their individual control of their vehicles and enhance their active driving safety. All events staged by the AMG Driving Academy feature advanced training methods which guarantee a swift grounding in the basics of driving dynamics. Acquainting drivers with both their own limitations and their vehicles' limits in a totally safe manner is also on the agenda. Another key focus is on thrilling driving experiences with exciting high-performance vehicles such as the SLS AMG, C 63 AMG Coupé Black Series or SLK 55 AMG.
A major difference to last year's programme is the reduced size of groups for selected events, to allow even greater concentration on the respective participants' individual skills. In addition, individual taxi trips with the SLS AMG GT3 can now be booked at a price of 350 euros.
Erstwhile Formula 1 driver Karl Wendlinger new instructor
Karl Wendlinger (Austria) is a new addition to our team of professional instructors. From 1990 to 1991 the 43 year-old racing driver was a member of the Mercedes junior team competing in the World Sportscar Championship along with Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. In 1991 he switched to Formula 1. In 1994, Wendlinger raced for the Sauber-Mercedes team alongside Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Karl Wendlinger will be teaming up at the AMG Driving Academy with DTM driver Susie Wolff and DTM championship record holder Bernd Schneider, who belong to the AMG Driving Academy's core team along with Bernd Mayländer (driver of the Official F1™ Safety Car). Racing driver Reinhold Renger remains in the post of chief instructor. In all, the AMG Driving Academy has 30 instructors on its roster.
The AMG Driving Academy is not only active in Europe. In response to the great demand, the programme is undergoing systematic expansion: training measures have been held in America since 2009, and in China since 2010 – at the Laguna Seca Raceway (California) or the Shanghai International Circuit, for example. A totally new development is the AMG Driving Academy's involvement in India: A kick-off event took place at the Buddh International Circuit against the backdrop of the Auto Expo in New Delhi in January 2012.
Eight further BASIC training courses will follow in 2012. Events for AMG customers in Japan and Russia are also in the pipeline.
Details of the dates and further information are available at www.mercedes-amg.com/driving-academy or by calling the AMG Driving Academy hotline on +49 7144 302-575.
The AMG Driving Academy programme in detail: From EMOTION to SLS AMG GT3 COMPETITION
The AMG Driving Academy offers a broad range of fascinating events and driver training measures tailored to individual needs and interests. The vehicles available to participants are captivating AMG high-performance models such as the SLS AMG, the SLK 55 AMG or the C 63 AMG Coupé Black Series – with even a thoroughbred racing car on hand for the MASTERS, in the guise of the SLS AMG GT3. The team of instructors includes prominent racing drivers such as Bernd Schneider, Karl Wendlinger or Susie Wolff.
Perfect control of the vehicle coupled with great passion and the utmost in driving enjoyment: the AMG Driving Academy programme covers five skill levels (EMOTION, BASIC, ADVANCED, PRO and MASTERS) and offers the ideal event for every proficiency level. Beginning with lifestyle-oriented events (EMOTION), the programme progresses through an introduction to the given critical limits (BASIC) to intensive race circuit training with data recording and individual coaching (ADVANCED, PRO, MASTERS). The Winter Sporting event in Sweden's Lapland region offers pure, unadulterated fun at the wheel on ice and snow. The SLS AMG GT3 is used as a training vehicle for the highest level - the MASTERS. This thoroughbred racing car was developed in accordance with FIA GT3 rules. To ensure the most effective learning experience, the MASTERS breaks down into four modules: EXPERIENCE, WARM-UP, TRAINING and COMPETITION.
AMG high-performance cars double up as hire vehicles
Depending on the type of event concerned, participants either drive their own AMG vehicles or AMG high-performance automobiles provided by the AMG Driving Academy. Hire cars are also available, such as the SLS AMG, the new SLK 55 AMG, the C 63 AMG Coupé and the C 63 AMG Coupé Black Series. A high-calibre supporting programme featuring local culinary delights and professional supervision is an integral part of every AMG Driving Academy event.
The licensed AMG instructors with a wealth of motorsport experience pass on their extensive know-how at legendary race circuits such as Hockenheim, Nürburgring, Zandvoort or Le Castellet. Participants experience driving enjoyment in its most sublime form at the wheel of thrilling AMG high-performance vehicles.
Overview of the AMG Driving Academy skill levels:
EMOTION: at these lifestyle-oriented events a maximum of 24 participants explore interesting routes taking in delightful scenery at the wheel of vehicles provided by AMG. They enjoy exciting events and select gala menus at special locations as part of the AMG community. The events begin with a guided tour offering exclusive insights into the AMG plant in Affalterbach. The one- to four-day events include top-ranking sporting events or cultural highlights, for example. New events in 2012 include the EMOTION trips to Tuscany and the EMOTION Formula 1 trip to the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, for example. The latter three-day event includes VIP tickets for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Lounge and takes participants behind the scenes for exclusive insights into the work of the Silver Arrows team headed by Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Other EMOTION trips will visit selected DTM races or the 24-hour Nürburgring race, in which numerous customer teams will be competing in the SLS AMG GT3. Prices: from 390 to 3790 euros.
BASIC: the focus of this training is on ensuring safe and confident reactions behind the wheel in all conceivable daily traffic situations. In a professional environment the participants develop the expertise to tackle their first few laps of driving at the limit, starting with a detailed theory-based introduction unit. 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. Elements of this training are over- and understeering, slalom, lane-changing, braking and evading suddenly appearing obstacles.
The BASIC training takes place at the Sachsenring circuit and the Boxberg test site. Each group comprises a maximum of ten participants. Vehicles provided by AMG are allocated to pairs of participants. Each of the maximum of five groups is supervised by an instructor. As a highlight at the end of the event, each participant experiences performance in perfection in an AMG racing taxi – as a co-driver alongside one of the professional AMG instructors. Price: 1190 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 theoretical introduction primarily covers cornering technique, the ideal line and braking points. The mode of functioning of the various driver assistance systems, safety rules and driver behaviour also play a central role in this unit. Section training on the race circuit 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 Nürburgring-Nordschleife, Hockenheimring, (both in Germany), Zandvoort (Netherlands) and Ascari (Spain). The AMG mechanics are on hand to answer all technical questions about the vehicles. ADVANCED training courses can accommodate a maximum of six groups, each consisting 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: the in-depth PRO training is tailored to the needs of drivers with aspirations in the field of motor racing, covering both theoretical and practical aspects. The two and a half-day events take place on the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit or in Ascari (Spain). Completion of the 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.
In addition, the participants can have a data and video 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. At the end of the event the participants can enjoy a passenger’s-eye experience of the circuit in the AMG Race Taxi. Prices start from 2440 euros.
MASTERS SLS AMG GT3: the highest level in the AMG Driving Academy programme deploys the racing version of the gullwing model as a training vehicle. Designed in accordance with FIA GT3 rules, the SLS AMG GT3 has been in successful use by customer teams in various GT3 racing series throughout the world since 2011. In the very first race of 2012, the Dubai 24 Hours, the Abu Dhabi Black Falcon and HEICO Motorsport pulled off an impressive triple victory. The AMG Driving Academy participants benefit from the modular design of the MASTERS SLS AMG GT3: four complementary stages guide the aspiring racing drivers to the finishing line - EXPERIENCE, WARM-UP, TRAINING and COMPETITION. Participants can take part in all MASTERS events in their own SLS AMG GT3 vehicles or in corresponding cars provided by AMG.
EXPERIENCE begins with a theoretical introduction and guided driving with SLS AMG road vehicles. This is followed by familiarisation with the SLS AMG GT3, including the driver's seat, and guided driving in a group. An experienced instructor is always on board as a co-driver, communicating with the participant via two-way radio. Driver and co-driver then swap places in the SLS AMG GT3: the experienced instructor shows the participant his personal strengths by reference to a video recording, whetting his appetite for more laps in the racing version of the gullwing model. Price for the three-hour event: 1850 euros. Requirements: Completion of AMG BASIC training or comparable driver training.
The second stage, the WARM-UP, begins with the participants at the wheel of the SLS AMG road vehicles. This is followed by a detailed theoretical grounding in the technology and operation of the SLS AMG GT3. After a fitness check, the participants are acquainted in-depth with the racing version of the gullwing model: acceleration, braking, gearshifting, overtaking and various handling exercises are on the agenda. Professional data and video recording enables systematic improvement of the participant's personal driving technique. Participants who are resident in Germany can additionally acquire a national "DMSB driving licence" from the German motor sport association Deutscher Motor Sport Bund e. V. The price for the one-day event is 4590 euros. Requirements: Completion of SLS AMG GT3 EXPERIENCE, AMG ADVANCED or PRO training, AMG MASTERS SPORTS TROPHY or comparable driver training.
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 personal skills as well as cornering techniques, perfect braking, acceleration and changing gear. Data and video recordings are also used for consistent improvement of race track driving technique. An independent instructor then assesses the participants' qualification for the highlight of the SLS AMG GT3 MASTERS – the COMPETITION. Price per hour: 2900 euros. Requirement: Completion of SLS AMG GT3 WARM-UP.
The three-day COMPETITION begins with racetrack-specific training for the participants, who subsequently race against one another in ranking heats. The winners in the individual and team competitions duly take to the rostrum at a victory ceremony. Prices start from 8900 euros. Requirement: Successful qualification in SLS AMG GT3 TRAINING, one hour of training within the past 3 months.
Pushing driving enjoyment to the limit: Winter Sporting in Sweden's Lapland region
A particularly appealing training event takes place from January to April each year in Arjeplog (Sweden), close to the Arctic Circle: the AMG Winter Sporting ADVANCED and PRO event. Participants drive the AMG high-performance cars provided exclusively at a closed-off ice-covered site, and the 3-stage ESP® Electronic Stability Program is generally disabled. Specially developed training programmes guarantee an optimum combination of training success and driving pleasure on various specially prepared scaled-down versions of international race circuits and a skid pad – ideal conditions for power slides and drifts. 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 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 AMG Winter Sporting ADVANCED training is a four-day event, while the PRO training takes place over five days. Here participants and instructors focus in smaller groups on driving technique, including data recording and video analysis. At the end of the PRO event the participants even drive the AMG Ice Taxi themselves. Prices: 3890 euros (ADVANCED), 4990 euros (PRO)
The AMG Lodge beckons as an exclusive abode in the breath-taking Swedish scenery. The AMG-owned hotel on Galtis Mountain near Arjeplog offers a beautiful view across the surrounding forests and lakes. Exclusive rooms, the excellent restaurant and the large spa area with whirlpool and a fitness studio promise a pleasant stay. Each year, the area around Arjeplog serves as a well-known test centre which is used by many automobile manufacturers to put their prototypes to the acid test in the tough Swedish winter.
AMG Driving Academy arranges complete incentives
The AMG Driving Academy also arranges complete incentive trips for companies, customers or business partners. The programme covers all types of individual wishes, including AMG factory tours, a guided tour of the SLS AMG production plant in Sindelfingen, guided excursions with the latest AMG high-performance vehicles, race track training or visits to motor sport events including a full supporting programme followed by evening function, for example. A personal incentive scout puts an exciting programme together and is on hand during the event, attending to all participants' needs and ensuring that they take a wealth of wonderful memories away with them.
AMG social networking and AMG Private Lounge
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.
* Official photos and details courtesy of Mercedes-AMG GmbH *
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