Sunday, 10 November 2013

Mercedes STARDRIVE Experience, Buddh International Circuit!

Have you ever thought of something that is more awesome than the most awesome thing you have ever done? Well I never did, but Mercedes (a company that makes just cars that are superb, but I find hard to like apart from the new A-class and the SLS AMG) made me experience that.

Now I have driven a lot of cars, manual, automatic, fast, slow, everything. But never did I experience all that in one day. It all started when I read this advertisement in HT CITY about the event, and my first step was to go online and register. I had my e-mail already registered, which was weird, but when I checked the mail, I saw a confirmation for the event. One point to Mercedes! :D

The paddock club, filled with enthusiastic people!
Now came the day, 9th November, time slot- 12-2pm. I left home at about 9:30, because I was just excited. I had a word with Mr. Roshun at Cartoq, who was equally enthusiastic about the event and even sent the Video Editor, Mr. Angad to cover the event. All awesome things happening, and my friend, Rehan (the Nokia 808 PureView genius) was there to shoot the still too!

When we reached the Mecca of speed in India, The Buddh International Circuit, we could easily see that the event is no small deal here. We entered, registered, and we could hear tires squealing like a young chick on a roller-coaster. What that was, scariest driving s*** on earth. Anyhow, a series of events were involved.


The Paddock Club, just $5500 for the race weekend
When we went inside the PADDOCK CLUB (intentionally capitalized, it's a bloody $5500 ticket for the F1 weekend) and were offered juices and mojitos and stuff, but the thing that caught my eye was the beautiful girls handing people gadgets that made you look like Cyclops out of X-Men, literally. The "goggles" were for viewing a 8 minute video demonstrating the automotive brilliance of Mercedes. After the video, and stuffing ourselves with what can be described as the best food I have tasted in a long time, our next session awaited.


Not a point where you braked!
A slalom is basically a zig-zag between obstacles. But a slalom in a Mercedes C250 CDI Avantagarde is a different thing all together. It was a contest, clock in a time worthy for a top 10 in a two hour slot, and the prize was awesome. Anyway, we just had to do it, the prize was tempting. So seeing the others do it made me nothing other than nervous. Then I spotted a guy is a racing suit who was going to be driving around too for the event. I went to him, and asked for tips because he turned out to be a Rally driver with experience more than my age. He told me not to use the brake for except on place in the slalom course, and my time could be competitive.
If you crossed the cones, you were simply disqualified

The dropped cones pointed in the direction of the track!
 Making strategies, and standing in cues, hearing tortured tires (because some people think it's cool because it is not their car, it's Douchie) and hearing times like 23 seconds, my nervousness kicked in. My turn, no people in my car but the instructor, I started my reference lap, and stopped in the middle, the seat was too far. My lap started, braking once, and the lap over. I came out, 21 seconds! YES YES YES! Did a small Vettel-like gesture 'coz I just knew the prize was mine. But first, the next event.

Getting to the start after a sighting lap of the course


The car was like a see-saw, and the power went to the wheel with maximum traction
With the maximum traction to the front right and rear left, off went the GL!
 You get in a 90 lac Mercedes GL, last thing that comes to your mind is taking it off-road, right? Not if you are an Indian, but yes if you are me. Off-roading is awesome. Another Rally champion showed us the various off-road features like EDR, 45 degree hill ascent and descent, 30 degree inclination stability due to the low ground clearance, etc. The experience was good, and the car lived up to its promises.

The 45 degree hill descent
The 30 degree slant-stability, the car didn't move an inch


Remember the tire squeal? I am going to let the video speak up. Coming soon!


At the end of the 3 lap session, you park where the champions once did, not long ago
Didn't get it? Really? Of course you did. 5 people a time, with another Rally Champion in the lead car (Mercedes C250) instructing us where to turn, the apexes, how wide to turn, how fast to go, where to brake and everything, and telling me (car 3) "good job car 3" three times, once when I passed the place where I spun during the track day, it was just so overwhelming. And the car, I secretly turned on the "S" mode and turned off "ECO", and it was like driving something with fire on its bottom. You pressed the accelerator, and the car went fast (one time, I was warned to maintain the 2 car-length difference from the car ahead). The only let down? The gear box, it changed a bit too late considering the Sport mode, but overall, the handling, the steering and the comfort, awesome.

The second car in the pic, I was in it! :D
To summarize then, amazing day and all thanks to a company that is now one of my favorites, MERCEDES-BENZ! 

1 comment:

  1. Great!! Actually its AWESOME!!
    reading the article and watching pics above makes me feel as if i missed something really amazing!! :(
    still congos to u!! :)