AMG® Advanced Winter Driving In Arjeplog, Sweden
Miles of frozen lake ice tracks awaited me as I landed in Sweden’s Lapland, just a few kilometers south of the Arctic Circle. A snow covered landscape now buzzing with high performance road cars all readied for ice driving in the most extreme of winter conditions. I knew this was going to be a special experience when DTM champion Bern Schneider jumped in to pilot my 4X4 Sprinter from the airport to the AMG® lodge. That experience alone was worth the journey.
Having driven in the snow most of my life growing up in New England, I figured I was pretty prepared for the challenges of driving in the snow, but I had no idea just how capable these cars were going to be on ice. For sure, I thought 500-plus horsepower would be virtually impossible to apply on the icy lake surfaces, especially with traction control turned off. But, to my surprise, those ponies proved surprisingly useable as we drifted around the various circuits on studded rally tires. I never thought we would or could reach the speeds we did, nor that we could fully use the ABS (anti-lock braking system) to slow the cars down for the hairpins and tight chicanes that lined the courses.
The opportunity to drive so many amazing cars in the harshest of conditions really reaffirmed my affinity for the AMG® brand. No matter the car – GTS, E 63S, C 63S coupe, or A45 – they all performed flawlessly.
The driving dynamics of these cars were incredible and gave me the confidence to drive to my limits throughout the program. The highlight of the training was the ice taxi rides provided by our driving instructors on the final day of training. This really put into perspective how incredible these cars were in the hands of professional drivers. If you ever wanted to know just how it feels to be the co-pilot in a world rally car, this is as close as you can get!
The whole experience was a testament to the abilities of the cars and the training received form the world class driving instructors AMG® had assembled for us. Champion winning drivers from DTM, Formula One and World Endurance cars patiently coach you and provide you with world class instruction, data analysis and one on one driver training. As I told the head instructor and my personal coach, Reinhold Renger, I was definitely leaving the AMG® winter driving program an improved and more capable driver than I was when I arrived – a testament to their training and the meticulously-run program AMG® developed for us.
I knew just how lucky I was to have participated in the training when members of the Mercedes-AMG® Petronas Formula One team – including Toto Wolf and Lewis Hamilton – arrived to take our places in the program!
The AMG® Winter Sporting program occurs yearly on select dates in January, February and March. For more information including dates, hotels and location, please visit the AMG® Driving Academy website.