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Mercedes AMG Driving Academy: Experience
Slow in, fast out. As clichéd as it sounds, that’s exactly how my first experience of driving on an F1 circuit can be summarized in a few words. It is also a race car driver’s mantra for a fast lap around a circuit but let’s not dwell on that as I am not (optimistically… ‘yet’) a race car driver. What I am is a blessed journalist who now even snores making sounds of the bellowed beauties that were at my disposal for a full day at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC). As slow as it sounds though, it all begins with a briefing and a meal with the man who is going to train me at the BIC the next day.
The man in question here is Norman Simon. Norman has had a long racing career from participating in 24 hour endurance races to coming second in the British Touring Car Championship in 2002 to being a step away from Formula 1 in the nineties. He’s been a racing instructor since 2007 and clearly knows his craft. ‘I want you to slam the brakes so hard that your legs begin to hurt a little after a few attempts’ are one of the first few lines I hear from Norman.
But first a brief on the day ahead. I am at the BIC for the Basic training course of the AMG driving academy. It is the first stage of Mercedes’ racetrack program that aims at teaching me to exploit my driving potential and that of the cars at my disposal. These include a humble collection of AMG models – SLK 55 AMG, C 63 AMG, E 63 AMG and of course the SLS AMG. That’s close to 2100 PS of cumulative power under my right foot at most times… It’s going to be a good day.