Track days can be a lot of fun. You get to test your driving skills in a safe, controlled environment and push the car you’re driving to the limit of its handling and grip. The only thing better than a track day, in my opinion, is a track day in a really special car.
I got to visit Mercedes World in Weybridge, the spiritual home of Mercedes Benz in the UK and tried some of the latest AMG models around its handling tracks, including the AMG version of the all-electric Mercedes EQS. You can visit Mercedes World 363 days of the year to either marvel at some of the cars on show, or try your hand behind the work in one of the driving experiences.
Mercedes Benz has a rather unique feature for its AMG models to provide feedback on your track-day driving. The AMG Track Pace is available in the latest AMG models with MBUX display and can provide you with detailed telemetry from your drive, including lap times, acceleration and braking, to analyse your driving performance. There are maps of race circuits that can be downloaded to the car and even the ability to create a video of your drive from a smartphone camera.
The kind of telemetry that AMG Track Pace offers would normally require pricey extra equipment to be installed into the car to monitor all of the elements of the drive. So the fact that this all comes from a price of around 323 Euros for the upgrade is all the more impressive.
Versions of the AMG Track Pace have been around for a few years now. However, the latest update provides a brand-new interface for display in-car and on your AMG Track Pace app on your phone. This data can then be shared and even compared with other AMG drivers, who have raced the same track, in a virtual leaderboard.
Track Pace has 60 of the world’s best-known race tracks pre-programmed into the system for your to race. You can also input your own course, including start and end points and sectors for split timing. When into the lap recording, the software records up to 80 pieces of vehicle-specific data and delivers them live to the dashboard for real-time feedback. This data can then also be reviewed after your race, on the car’s display or on your phone (connected with your MercedesMe account).
As well as lap times, Track Pace can record drag race timings for set distances, such as quarter-mile, or any pre-set distance. It will then give you not only your precise time, but also your top speed, acceleration, deceleration and braking.
For some real gamification of your track laps, the software can superimpose a ghost car onto the track (on the MBUX display) to compare your current progress with a previous lap. The ambient lighting inside the car turns green if you’re ahead, or red if you’re behind on the reference lap, adding to the need to beat that record.
You can choose which bits of data display on your screens while you drive. On models with a passenger screen, such as the Mercedes AMG EQS 53, you can have your telemetry display there to be watched by your copilot, or in my case, my instructor.
Another nice feature of the AMG Track Pace is the video functionality. This requires a connected smartphone to be mounted on the windscreen to record your lap performance both inside and outside of the car. At the end of your session, the app will then send you the video from your best lap.
While you can opt to download the straight video feed from inside the car, you can also get a pre-made highlight reel. This mixes both interior and exterior video with some fancy AMG racing graphics to create an easily sharable clip of your drive. You can see mine from the AMG A45 S below as an example.
Reviewing previous laps using the AMG Track Pace tools helped to identify where I was going wrong, and where that slow in, fast out rule is actually right. Having the ghost car and comparison indicators during the lap pushed me harder trying to shave seconds off my time, and in the end, led to a much-improved performance.
This software is really clever and while it won’t appeal to all drivers, it turns your car into the ultimate track day toy and that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.