Critical driving lessons with MBM

Bahyiah Bakir

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MBM) recently invited Jati Transport Sdn Bhd, the general distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Brunei Darussalam, to the Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience (MBDE). Selected customers who bought Mercedes-Benz AMG models this year were chosen to participate in the event.

The MBDE held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia saw over a hundred guests, including those from Brunei Darussalam, experience thrilling tarmac action thanks to a line-up of the latest Mercedes-AMG sports cars and professional driving instructors.

We left the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for Sepang as early as 7am and reached the venue after an hour. Upon arrival, we were greeted by MBM staff and registered our attendance at Paddock Club I. We then received our media kit, had breakfast and mingled with the participants.

Before we began our track exercise, MBM Representative Instructor and Australian GT Race Driver Jake Fouracre kicked off the proceedings by briefing participants on the obstacle courses and the drive for the Track Lapping Session in the afternoon.

He explained that the event aimed to equip participants with the skills and knowledge to handle a vehicle under critical driving situations and how to respond to these situations appropriately and safely. It was also to help the participants familiarise with the car’s controlling dynamics in different driving situations and understand its electronic aid systems.

Participants during the lapping session. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR
Jeffery from Brunei was named the Best Male Driver. PHOTO: MBM

After the briefing we were ushered to the tracks and saw an arsenal of AMG machines and lines such as the AMG C43, AMG A 35, C 300, E 200, A 200 Limousine, GLC 300 Coupe, CLS 450 and CLS 350.

The first exercise was the ABS/BAS and Split Friction Exercise to highlight to customers the advantages of having the Mercedes-Benz ABS and BAS systems.

The point of the course was to showcase the vehicle’s Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) system as well as highlighting the importance of the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). Driving exercises also included Slalom, Lane Change, Cornering Exercise and Skid Control.

The Evasive ABS Braking exercise is where participants push the ABS to its limits, and to see how speed and incorrect reactions such as excessive steering movements can result in different consequences.

The Lane Change exercise simulates a dangerous situation where you have to suddenly brake hard to avoid an obstacle, before stabilising the car.

The Slalom Course educates drivers on the better points of car control. Our instructor demonstrated the techniques first before we snaked our ways through the exercise. Most of us were able to pilot our vehicles without running over the cones. Without having to accelerate and brake excessively, one can focus more on the act of guiding the car through.

In the Cornering exercise, participants experimented with the speeds to take the corner, to understand causes of understeer and oversteer, and how a driver’s action affects cornering.

We returned to Paddock Club and had an hour’s lunch break before heading back on the track for a lapping session and Taxi Rides, with the instructors in front for us to chase them or pressure them to go faster.

For the first few laps we drove the cars at 150 km/h max and learnt proper racing lines to minimise track space wastage.

For the last lapping session it was raining heavily and we used the opportunity to make use of the ABS and ESP system and drove the cars with no speed limits to feel and experience the cars’ powerful turbo-charged engines.

We pushed the cars harder with every corner and lap, turning faster and accelerating at full throttle.

The Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience event ended late in the afternoon with participants having afternoon tea and receiving MBDE Driving certificates and prizes.

The Best Male Driver award was won by Brunei’s own Jeffry, while the Best Female Driver award was won by a participant from the Philippines. Participants from Brunei said they were happy and glad to have been chosen for the Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience event.

For them, it was an opportunity as Mercedes-Benz owners to be well aware of their cars’ capabilities and performance and how to utilise them in a safe way.

They also added that the programme helped gain a greater understanding of the car’s features and electronic system, as well as skills and knowledge when driving on public roads.