Driving safety training from Mercedes-Benz and AMG, summer 2011: For greater safety and confidence on the move
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Stuttgart, Germany, May 26, 2011
- Mercedes-Benz driving events at 16 locations across Germany
- Wide range of vehicles from the A-Class to S-Class, plus off-roaders
- High standard of quality with around 60 skilled instructors
- RoadSense: a different approach to road safety awareness for young people
- Intensive race circuit training at the AMG Driving Academy
As confirmed by accident statistics, Mercedes drivers are involved in fewer accidents than drivers of cars made by other manufacturers. This is the result of the comprehensive safety philosophy at Mercedes-Benz. In addition to many years of accident research and the democratisation of safety innovations across all model series, a diverse range of driving safety training events is offered. Participants become more aware of typical danger situations and practise appropriate responses.
Safety pioneer Mercedes-Benz has a long tradition of providing such training: as early as 1902, the sons of Gottlieb Daimler were conducting driving lessons at the works of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. Mercedes-AMG also holds driving training courses and events tailored to individual requirements to help its customers to achieve flawless car control (see page 6 onwards). Driving safety training for summer 2011 is now getting underway through Mercedes-Benz Driving Events and the AMG Driving Academy.
A broad programme of on and off-road Mercedes-Benz driving events
Mercedes-Benz holds driving events at twelve venues and four off-road locations throughout Germany, meaning that no participant needs to travel far. "By providing courses almost nationwide and at reasonable prices, we are aiming at as many car drivers as possible. The half-day compact training event for 18 to 25-year olds, for example, costs just 89 euros," says Ulrich Mellinghoff, Head of Mercedes Safety Development. "Ultimately all road users benefit from the confident car control practised during training, not just Mercedes drivers. Any accident is one accident too many."
The target group for the various courses is correspondingly diverse, ranging from learner drivers to experienced professionals, from sales training to events for professional drivers and chauffeurs. The sole requirement is that the driver must hold a class 3/class B driver's licence. Mercedes-Benz provides the vehicles used in driving training. "This offers several advantages," explains Wolfgang Müller, Chief Instructor Mercedes-Benz Driving Events. "Participants do not need to worry about their own vehicles or tyre wear and our instructors know the cars intimately." What is more, this gives trainers the opportunity to demonstrate to participants how modern assistance systems work. Because it plays a pioneering role in safety, Mercedes-Benz offers technologies that are not available in other vehicles – or at least not yet.
Another factor is that, due to the range of performance, exercises can be completed in a higher speed range. "This means exercises are conducted at more realistic speeds," adds Müller. For example, braking exercises take place from 80 km/h at all levels of training. The fleet of cars extends from the A‑Class to the S-Class and, for off-road training, includes the entire range of Mercedes-Benz SUV models and off-roaders.
Before heading up driving training at Mercedes-Benz, Wolfgang Müller was a successful rally driver for ten years. He is an experienced and skilled instructor, like all his colleagues on the driving safety training team in line with the high expectations that Mercedes-Benz has of staff. Using the same pool of approximately 60 trainers ensures that all Mercedes driving training
sessions in Germany meet a high standard of quality, irrespective of the event venue. Müller's job includes harmonising this standard of quality at international level to achieve global consistency with regard to the skill levels described below, for example.
Here is an overview of the various driving safety training courses and driving events being held by Mercedes-Benz in summer 2011:
- Compact training: On this half-day course, participants find out how an accident can be prevented effectively. Exercises include full brake application combined with an evasive manoeuvre, and a slalom course. Compact training is also offered as a special training event for 18 to 25-year olds.
- Basic training: As part of this one-day event, the instructors demonstrate how danger situations can be dealt with safely and confidently with support from active control systems. In demanding exercises, such as taking evasive action without braking from 80 km/h, emergency braking or correcting skidding vehicles, participants simulate accident situations and learn strategies for emerging unscathed.
- Advanced training: This one-day training course widens the range of solutions for dealing with hazardous situations at higher speeds. Participants practise emergency braking at 100 km/h without knowing the direction in which to take evasive action beforehand, or controlling a tail-skid on a wet bend.
- Enhanced training: Here hazardous situations are rehearsed at motorway speed. For example, participants learn how to correct their vehicle following an emergency lane change at 130 km/h. In addition, challenging drift exercises are completed on famous race tracks like Sachsenring. The enhanced training course lasts two days.
- Eco training: During this half-day event, attendees take part in simple practical and theoretical exercises to learn how to reduce fuel consumption by handling their car more efficiently. On average, those who complete the eco training course subsequently use 15 percent less fuel.
- Pro driver training: The programme for this two-day event includes performing an evasive manoeuvre at 130 km/h in a predefined direction through a set of traffic lights, emergency braking scenarios and correcting a tail-skidding vehicle at motorway speed, for example. Driving practice is complemented by theoretical exercises tailored to the specific profession with trainers who also instruct police task forces.
- Enhanced pro driver training: Building on the pro driver training course, here the focus is on training for complex, stressful situations and additional tasks associated with a specific profession, with participants receiving individual coaching. They drive a handling course at night and take part in a convoy. Individual strengths and weaknesses are psychologically evaluated for everyday professional life (two-day event).
- Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience: This event immerses participants in the world of Mercedes-Benz for two full days. A visit to the wind tunnel and test track at the plant in Untertürkheim is followed by a voyage of discovery around the Mercedes-Benz Museum and an evening meal together. On the second day, it is onto the training circuit with the opportunity to put the current model range, including the CLS and SLK, through its paces in slaloming, braking and evasive manoeuvres.
- On and off-road training: This two-day event is aimed especially at newcomers and SUV drivers. The programme covers driving safety first: fast lane changing, slaloming, one-sided braking and ABS as an issue. The second part of the training course takes place on an off-road circuit. Safe ways to handle axial twist situations, driving at an angle and steep ascents and descents are practised.
- Off-road training: After an introduction to the theory, instructors accompany participants on a challenging off-road circuit. They will master steep downhill gradients and adventurously driving at an angle. At the same time, participants will learn to assess the way they themselves and their vehicle respond more effectively so that they can reach their destination safely given even the toughest terrain. Mercedes-Benz offers one and two-day courses at different levels in the form of basic, advanced, exclusive and pro off-road training.
- Off-road journeys: Fly&Drive Ireland, a magical Italian journey and an epic expedition halfway around the world are just some of the trips on offer. An amazing five-week trip from Germany to India goes via Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.
Further information is available at www.mercedes-benz.de/driving-events and www.offroad.mercedes-benz.de .
New RoadSense road safety awareness programme: a chance for 14-year olds to get behind the wheel
Around 600 school pupils took part in a pilot project in 2010 at the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy in Stuttgart. The unusual form of training provided is now progressing to the next phase, the aim of the new RoadSense road safety awareness initiative being to minimise the risk of young road users. As part of the RoadSense programme, Year 8 pupils are allowed to get behind the wheel of a car under professional supervision and on handling circuits away from traffic. The 13 to 15-year old students are not taught how to drive – it is about experiencing what it is like behind the wheel. The main emphasis is on typical conflict situations that may be encountered as a passenger and learning how to deal with these responsibly.
All types of schools can take part with their Year 8 classes to the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy for the RoadSense road safety awareness programme. Information can be obtained from Mercedes-Benz by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
AMG Driving Academy: from the first experience of driving at the limit to intensive race circuit training
Mercedes-AMG helps its customers to achieve flawless car control by offering driving 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. There are five different programmes to choose from: 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.
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 active driving safety.
Licensed trainers with extensive racing experience pass on their vast knowledge with great professionalism. As well as DTM driver Susie Stoddart, Bernd Schneider, Bernd Mayländer and Chris Mamerow are other prominent members of the team around chief instructor Reinhold Renger.
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 SLS AMG, SLK 55 AMG, C 63 AMG, E 63 AMG and also the SL 63 AMG – all equipped with the AMG Performance package.
Almost incidentally, but by design, participants in events learn about efficient fuel use. "We show that opening up the engine fully, harsh braking and a generally frenetic driving style by no means make you the fastest," says chief instructor Reinhold Renger. "Many participants are amazed that after training they achieve faster lap times, while consuming significantly less fuel." A further special feature is international harmonisation of the various training levels. Renger: "Many of our customers use this as an opportunity to go on and hone their skills further in another country – or even on a different continent."
An overview of all of the events offered by the AMG Driving Academy:
- EMOTION: These lifestyle-oriented events send a maximum of 24 participants off on interesting routes through captivating scenery in cars provided by AMG. New events include the EMOTION Tour Golf, EMOTION Tour Montreux and the EMOTION Tour DTM Show Event Munich.
- 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, 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.
- 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. The practical section of the course on the race circuit gives 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.
- PRO: This three-day event is held in Le Castellet (France) and on the Red Bull Ring (Austria). Completion of AMG BASIC training, AMG ADVANCED training or a comparable driver training course is required to participate in PRO training. 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. The concluding AMG competition in the form of a regularity test underlines the sporting character of the training.
- MASTERS: In 2011 the AMG Driving Academy makes exclusive use of SLS AMG GT3 vehicles for its most demanding skill level programme. The module-based MASTERS SLS AMG GT3 programme consists of four stages. 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. Afterwards the participants step into the passenger seat of an SLS AMG GT3 racing taxi driven by an experienced professional racing driver. During the second stage – WARM‑UP – 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. Participants who are resident in Germany also have the chance to acquire a national DMSB (German Motor Sport Federation) driver’s licence. In stage three – TRAINING – the focus is on the systematic enhancement of personal skills such as cornering techniques, perfect braking, acceleration and changing gear. The highlight of the MASTERS SLS AMG GT3 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.
Details of event dates and other information may be found at www.mercedes-amg.com/driving-academy , or call the AMG Driving Academy on +49 7144 302 575.
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