Bionic Car Makes First Lap
Of Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands



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Ralph Hettich laps Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands, England

  • First lap of new Mercedes-Benz World track at Brooklands
  • Bionic Car with Bluetec technology is clean, refined and powerful
  • Pioneering spirit lives on at Mercedes-Benz World

  • ON 30/12/05
    OF 2005

    You'll see it
    after midday

    21st November, 2005

    Mercedes-Benz made history again this month. Its 'Bionic Car' completed the first lap of one of the tracks at its 'Mercedes-Benz World' site at Brooklands – 98 years, 4 months and 28 days since Ethel Locke-King led a procession of cars around at the opening launch party back on 17th June 1907.

    Under a crisp blue autumn sky, DaimlerChrysler Development Engineer Ralph Hettich, responsible for the Bionic Car project, became the first person to complete the first official lap of the new Brooklands track.

    Building work on the impressive 155-acre site continued unhindered as the car completed its first lap of the 0.6 mile circuit loop in a time of 3m32s. Despite the low average speed – due to the 10 mph speed limit in force while the site is under construction - the significance of the first lap was not lost on those present.

    Pioneering spirit

    "The Bionic Car perfectly embodies the enduring pioneering spirit of Mercedes-Benz, so it was the ideal vehicle to complete the first lap today;" said Peter O’Halloran, Mercedes-Benz World Director. "The Mercedes and Benz race cars at the inaugural meeting in 1907 were at the cutting edge of technology for their day, and this Bionic Car is no different. Its revolutionary design and construction shows what the future of motoring could hold, which is why it was chosen for the inaugural lap of our new track."

    The new handling courses are still under construction, but already the surface is smooth enough for a complete circuit. After laying the top layer of smooth, grippy asphalt next (northenr) spring, the completed tracks (totalling 1.55 miles) will give visitors a thrilling chance to experience how the Mercedes-Benz cars react to different driving conditions, including ESP® tests on wet grip circles.

    The handling circuit’s tracks, adjacent 10-acre off-road course, and huge Brand Centre building will be available to customers, families and to companies which have hired the complex’s facilities. Mercedes-Benz World is already open to bookings from the end of 2006.

    Mercedes-Benz World will also function as a vehicle retailer for Maybach, Mercedes-Benz and Smart models. New and used vehicle sales, service and repair, and accessories will all be available alongside a display of every vehicle in the Mercedes Car Group range.

    Displays of the company’s most famous models past and present, interactive displays and a low pressure ‘no hard sell’ atmosphere will all make Mercedes-Benz World the perfect venue for a wide range of users of all ages.

    Future meets past

    After completing the first laps of the new circuit, Mr Hettich demonstrated the Bionic Car to families who were spending their day at the Brooklands Museum. He drove along the famous old Members’ Banking, the enthusiastic crowd watching as the car got to within feet of the top of the banked circuit.

    It was an appropriate way to end an afternoon where Brooklands enjoyed a glimpse of the future; a glimpse of a car that features leading edge environmental and safety technology making history; a glimpse of the start of the next chapter in the enduring story of Mercedes-Benz and Brooklands.

    The plans for Mercedes-Benz World include:

    • A flood compensation scheme that will help reduce the impact of flooding on the Brooklands Museum and local homes.
    • Developing a 60 acre Community Park plus riverside nature walks.
    • Offering Wellington Way and part of Sopwith Drive for adoption as a public highway and implementing a high quality local bus service.
    • Mercedes-Benz World is to be housed in a carefully designed single building and will include display galleries and a technology centre.
    • The Gullwing restaurant will offer a five-star food and beverage menu; there’s also the 1886 Café.
    • A feature will be made of the long history of racing Mercedes at Brooklands and the theatre, visitor, education and hospitality facilities will be used by local businesses and schools.
    • The new building is next to the Brooklands Museum and historic motor racing circuit. The Centre will provide an opportunity for customers and visitors to learn about the evolution of the present day range of cars and to experience at first hand the many performance, safety, economic and environmental benefits of owning a Mercedes-Benz passenger car.
    • The centre will offer customers the ability to customise and collect their new Mercedes-Benz and to test drive vehicles on the specially designed circuit.
    • A proposed business development adjacent to the existing light industrial area and a five star hotel.
    • A new additional access road and parking for the Brooklands Museum.
    • The site was granted detailed planning permission in March 2004, and work began in July 2004.

    The Bionic Car

    Mercedes-Benz designers have taken their inspiration from nature and looked at the body shapes of fish in order to understand how they swim efficiently. The Bionic Car is the result.

    Designed to mirror the streamlined features of the tropical boxfish, the Bionic Car has been fused with the latest Mercedes-Benz diesel engine technology to deliver world-first characteristics.

    Its lightweight construction and superb aerodynamics mean that the car consumes 20 per cent less fuel than regular production cars. Its drag coefficient value of only 0.19 helps deliver fuel consumption of 4.3l/100km (65.7 mpg).

    It has an SCR technology (Selective Catalytic Reduction) diesel engine, using Adblue to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 80 per cent, exceeding proposed Euro V emission standards expected in the UK in 2010.

    Its revolutionary body shell is designed using the boxfish’s body for inspiration. It is up to 40 per cent more rigid than other cars, yet its weight is reduced by around one third. Strength and crash safety is unaffected.

    Ralph Hettich laps Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands, England

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