Mercedes Benz today celebrated the official naming of its development at Brooklands - Mercedes Benz World - with an historic return to the track by the ‘Lightning Benz’ record car, which last ran there in 1922.
Former Mercedes racing drivers Sir Stirling Moss and Jochen Mass were among the guests who saw the scale and scope of the 155 acre development, and the Lightning Benz once again roared around the famous banking - some 96 years since it set its first land speed record at the Surrey track.
Flanked by the Mercedes Benz 300 SLR in which Stirling Moss won the 1955 Mille Miglia, and a modern SLR McLaren, the exotic drive-by marked the official naming of the development, which sees the spirit of Brooklands rejuvenated and celebrated.
Due to open in summer 2006, Mercedes Benz World will become the company’s largest retail site in Europe, and a leisure destination offering visitors from all over the country a chance to experience the entire spectrum of Mercedes Benz models, products and philosophies.
Alongside an unparalleled display of new and used cars which will be displayed in the 21-metre high building, a brand gallery will allow guests to see some of the rich heritage and history of the world’s oldest car company, alongside celebrations of the marque’s formidable motorsport achievements.
Mercedes Benz World includes 2.5 kilometres of test circuits, available in nine configurations. Customers will experience - in safety - how their new car handles at speed, and how the standard ESP Electronic Stability Program works thanks to low-grip wet circles. This controlled environment will promote driver safety, and gives Mercedes Benz owners current and future, the chance to experience extreme road conditions with low risk.
For those less-inclined to high octane action, the tracks will be visible from a café and restaurant, offering everything from a cup of tea to haute cuisine. Conference and business space will give corporate guests somewhere interesting to meet whilst youngsters can learn all about vehicle design and technology in special interactive educational areas - ideal for families, schools and other groups.
If all this is too much for one day - no problem, as Mercedes Benz World will have an on-site hotel, thanks to the luxurious Columbus Brooklands, also due to open next year. Owned by Scottish entrepreneur and hotelier Ken McCulloch and Formula One ace David Coulthard, the first five star Columbus opened in Monaco. Brooklands will be the location for the second.
Elsewhere on the site, responsible off-roading is also provided with a specially-designed course which will test the company’s M-Class to the limit. The 10-acre 4x4 course has been carefully designed to double as a flood compensation area, protecting local homes and businesses from the risk of flooding by the River Wey - something that has blighted the area for years.
Mercedes Benz has protected the remains of the famous Brooklands banking by removing years of accumulated debris, trees and vegetation, and used part of the remaining Campbell Circuit in its own test track - forming a new course at the site for the first time since 1939. The Air Hanson hangar, one of the first installations to be built on the circuit, has been removed, opening up the full length of the Railway Straight for the first time in over 50 years.
Completing the development is a 60 acre Community Park, giving local people and visitors a place to relax and unwind. A nature trail, riverside walk, play area and roller-skating courses will all be provided.
Wilfried Steffen, President and CEO of DaimlerChrysler UK, hosted the opening and said: "It’s a privilege to be able to officially name our exciting development after years of hard work by everyone involved. Mercedes Benz World at Brooklands will become one of the country’s premier leisure destinations, and a great place to collect a new car.
"Both Mercedes and Daimler customers raced their own cars at the inaugural Brooklands meeting in 1907, so the site was a natural choice for us and the perfect location to invite our future customers to try, and buy a Maybach, Mercedes Benz or smart - albeit in far safer surroundings."
Mr Steffen continued: "Mercedes Benz has a number of large Brand Centres around Europe– the first opened in Berlin in 2000. Mercedes Benz World is unique in being the only one to offer on-site driving courses, and to act as a top-class leisure and business destination."
Mercedes Benz World opens in summer 2006. In the meantime, full details of the site are available from www.Mercedes BenzWorld.co.uk
This is a 15-year+ news article, from our Mercedes Benz archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
If in doubt check with your local Mercedes Benz dealer as car prices and technical data will have changed since 2005.
Although our car news is published in good faith, we cannot guarantee it to be error free or complete or up-to-date.
Mercedes Benz Images may not be UK specification cars. Colours and exterior and/or interior elements may differ from actual models.
The car news and images remain the copyright of the rights holder and may not be used without their consent.