Mercedes-Benz have launched the AMG Driving Academy at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The academy will help train drivers to enhance their skills by top racing professionals. And the best part is you learn in a wide selection of Mercedes-Benz AMG models.
We were invited to take part in the AMG Driving Academy ADVANCED level UAE programme. After a quick introduction of the AMG heritage and safety briefing, we were taken straight to track to choose our ‘weapons’. The range included the CLS 63 AMG, E 63 AMG, C 63 AMG, C 63 AMG Coupé and the SLK 55 AMG roadster. Also included in the range was the flagship of the academy, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, loaded with the 6.2-litre V8 monster engine producing 590 hp and 650 Nm of torque. Also making its debut at the track was the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster.
One of the main reasons the AMG Driving Academy has been setup in the UAE, is due to the fact the Middle East has the highest percentage of sales of AMG models among Mercedes-Benz buyers in the world. It contributes to 8% of the total sales, which they were quick to point out were not all the ever-popular Mercedes-Benz G-Class AMG models.
The Dhs 7,750 single-day AMG Driving Academy ADVANCED skills programme 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.
An AMG driver-training team are on hand to answer all technical questions about the vehicles, and can accommodate two groups of 10 participants each. One instructor is assigned to each group and two participants share each car.
We were taken to the skid pad as well to learn a bit more about how the ESP helps keep the car in control in a wet track. The ESP on all AMG models were quick to react once the car starts sliding, the slide itself induced by a “kick” plate which causes the car’s rear to lose grip. Trying to control with throttle will usually see the car spin out, but once you hit the brakes, the ESP ensures the car easily comes back in control.
After that, a drag-racing session was organised where two drivers were pitted against each other in the new Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG. These cars were equipped with the twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 engine, which is by no means slow, as it produces 525 hp with 700 Nm of torque, good enough to propel you from 0-100 kph in just 4.4 seconds.
In the end, participants are given the chance to sit in the passenger seat as a professional racing driver takes them for a spin in the SLS AMG GT Race Taxi.
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 an 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.
People wishing to register for the AMG Driving Academy can do so via a dedicated website at mb-me.com/ADA. The website keeps customers and fans up to date with all activities, exciting event reports and glimpses behind the scenes.