Page 98

AMG_Magazine_EN

In front of him rage eight cylinders with four liters of displacement. His fingers press into the leather of the steering wheel. His eyes look resolutely forward. The carotid artery in his neck is pulsating. Right now, Jens has just one goal: holding the racing line. He drives down the opening straight at a speed of more than 200 km/h. This time, he knows, he’ll nail the entry into the fast-approaching Elf curve in the Mercedes-AMG GT S. Normally Jens needs to focus on two things: his family and the tachometer. But in this moment, the CEO from Germany isn’t thinking about his wife and his two little daughters. The tachometer jumps. He brakes, tugs on the gearshift, turns and feels the force of 670 newton meters while exiting the curve. The sports car’s suspension hugs the hot asphalt of the circuit, the 7-speed sports transmission shifts so smoothly that Jens could almost forget where he is right now. If only it weren’t for the 3.8 seconds it takes to reach 100 km/h, which presses the mass of his body into the backrest. And Peter and Jörg in front of him. Mercedes-AMG has extended the invitation to join the AMG Private Lounge Days in Barcelona and the surrounding area for four days; 35 members have arrived, and one of them is Jens. Two others are his friends Peter and Jörg, who are just about to tackle the next challenging passage of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. In front of them drives Bernd Schneider, who takes charge of this AMG Private Lounge Days event with Chief Instructor Reinhold (“Reini”) Renger and AMG instructors Nico Bastian, Karl Wendlinger, Christian Hohenadel and Hannes Danzinger. First in the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupé, then in the Mercedes-AMG C 43, later in the Mercedes-AMG A 45 — and right now in the Mercedes-AMG GT S. Schneider has the radio in his hand. Without a hint of agitation, he corrects the participants: “That was really good, Jens!” it crackles. “Folks, think about where you’re directing your eyes!” This training module, which is part of racetrack training at AMG ADVANCED level, is called Lead & Follow. In it, the participants drive behind the instructor and then have the opportunity to talk to a data technician about the finer points of their laps. Bernd Schneider’s successful efforts to bring the participants to the racing line lap by lap can be seen with the aid of the data analysis. Of course, outside of the AMG Private Lounge Days, Jens, Peter and Jörg also have surnames, but this social circle is an informal one. Participants know each other from past events and excursions, from the AMG Private Lounge online platform, from the Hockenheimring, from previous DTM visits. It’s like a class reunion: the immense joy of seeing one another again, quickly breaking off into small groups — all without a lot of fanfare. Peter picks Jörg, Jörg picks Peter. Because that’s the way it always is. They are looking forward to the helicopter flight as much as they are to the guided tour into the mountains of Montserrat or the upcoming ride in the Race Taxi with Bernd Schneider or Nico Bastian in the strapping Mercedes-AMG GT3. Perhaps that’s exactly what constitutes the magic of the AMG Private Lounge Days: the combination of a certain lifestyle and the racetrack. The participants don’t just learn the suitability of the different models in everyday traffic, they can also test the vehicles in extreme situations — and all under professional guidance. That’s why there is a handling course next to the racetrack, a vehicle dynamics test area for controlled drifting, and continuous radio contact with the instructors. After the day on the racetrack, during dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant, Bernd and Jörg are chatting about the AMG 190 E-Class 1 from 1993. Bernd explains that he won his first victory at the second DTM season weekend in Hockenheim in that car. Jörg reveals that he owns the exact same car and passes around his smartphone with photos of the 190. Bernd gives him a friendly nudge in the side with his fist. “I drove every AMG racing car in the nineties, but I didn’t keep or buy a single one of them.” Before the evening comes to an end, many conversations like these will ensue. About the good old days, the beauty of the here and now, and the excitement about the future. Of course, it's about cars — nominally, at least. Special cars. Especially fast cars. “If you’re a member of the AMG Private Lounge, then you love powerful cars,” says Manuel Eller of the AMG Private Lounge Team; 55,000 AMG enthusiasts have already registered on the AMG Private Lounge website. Membership offers a wide variety of perks and advantages: sneak previews, insider info, a member chat feature, direct access to AMG experts, and last but not least centerpiece events such as the AMG Private Lounge Days. While the Mercedes-AMG GT S rests sizzling on the edge of the racetrack, David Coulthard stands at the podium, waving and grinning broadly. “It’s been a long time since I was on the winner’s rostrum. It’s a great feeling,” the former Formula One driver jokes to the audience, then quickly clears the area for the proper winners — and congratulates Andrea. At the end of the day, she scored the group victory and left Jens, Peter, Jörg and the rest of Bernd Schneider’s group in the dust. Just like that, without any fuss. Everyone congratulates her. So do Peter and Jörg. Because, after all, within the exclusive context of the AMG Private Lounge Days, it’s all about team spirit and fun. And also friendship. It’s like a class reunion: the joy of seeing one another again, quickly breaking off into small groups. Peter picks Jörg, Jörg picks Peter. Because that’s the way it always is. 96


AMG_Magazine_EN
To see the actual publication please follow the link above