Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Driving school offers high-performance lessons

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IF you've ever wanted to spend a day driving a bunch of high-performance German cars closer to the limit than the law will allow on the street, Mercedes-Benz Canada has just the thing.

The Toronto-based company has started a driving school at Shannonville Motorsport Park near Belleville, Ont., that will run until October, and for $1,000 a day plus GST, participants will get lots of exposure to most of the firm's products, and a "gourmet" lunch.

According to JoAnne Caza of Mercedes-Benz Canada, the program will "concentrate on mastering performance and developing defensive driving skills."

Caza says the full-day program was "conceived to give participants a maximum amount of seat-time and to ensure they acquire precise and safe driving skills that will last them a lifetime."

In addition, she says, the school will allow the participants to drive "a full range of Mercedes vehicles on a challenging race track at varying speeds and to hone their performance driving technique under the tutelage of professional instructors."

Marcus Breitschwerdt, the new president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada, says this program is "a natural extension of our involvement with RaceInc in their world-exclusive Drive an F-1 program," which is also a one-day program but for a lot more money.

"While our model lineup has expanded significantly over the past few years," Breitschwerdt notes, "the performance of our vehicles has also risen to new heights. The Mercedes-Benz Driving School will most definitely give customers, prospects and car enthusiasts an excellent opportunity to put our models through their paces as well as experience and understand the safety, agility, handling and overall performance of our vehicles in a very hands-on environment."

RaceInc's previous events for customers and media have always been well received, Caza says, and convinced Mercedes-Benz that a lot of people would be willing to pay for a driving school like this.

Caza says the participants of each one-day school will get a chance at C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, CLK-Class, and SLK-Class cars, as well as M-Class SUVs. She says "each participant will have a chance to experience most, if not all of them, during the course of the day."

For extra thrills, Caza says, there will also be some AMG high-performance products on the track "so participants can experience the radical end of our performance spectrum."

Patrick Xuereb Sr., the president of RaceInc International, says "Each school program is limited to 18 participants and the fleet consists of 18 vehicles, so you can see that our formula has ensured that everyone is driving as much as possible."

Following a welcome breakfast and a short classroom session, each participant will spend the morning executing skid pad exercises, collision avoidance, slalom steering and braking drills as well as driving through a timed obstacle course.

That gourmet lunch will be served at the RaceInc corral and the afternoon program will feature on-track lapping with one-on-one instruction and skid pad traction circle and high-speed hairpin exercises.

For more information, call RaceInc at 416-968-0508 or visit the school's Web site at www.mercedes-benz.ca/drivingschool.

--DIL Auto News Service

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 6, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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