An empty theme park, 10+ Mercedes AMG cars and a dozen talented photographers. Those are the ingredients for the first Mercedes-Benz night at the Europa Park. GTspirit tagged along to bring you a story of a night at the Europa Park behind the scenes!
The Europa-Park in Rust, Germany is Europe’s second most popular theme park after Disneyland Paris. As the name suggest Europe is the key theme and in the park you will find areas dedicated to most European countries with their own distinctive rides. Mercedes-Benz arranged access to the park after closing time so we could utilize the various backgrounds and country settings for some unique photos. Our journey however started long before dawn at the Mercedes-Benz Headquarters in Stuttgart where more than ten AMG’s were patiently waiting for us. The route to Rust took us through the famous Schwarzwald and its incredible roads.
The first part of the journey saw us behind the wheel of the G63 AMG and E63 S AMG. Two extreme cars that couldn’t be more different both in terms of looks as driving style. The G63 AMG is the king of the road, its loud and its sheer size gives you the feeling nothing is going to stop you. Its interior space is quite limited though, the only thing that really reminds you the G wagon has hardly changed since its inception in the late 1970s. The E63 S AMG is the opposite, remove the badges and you have the ideal wolf in sheep’s clothing. Believe it or not but the E63 S AMG is the second fastest Mercedes-Benz on the market today with a 0-100 km/h time of 3.6 seconds, only the extreme SLS AMG Black Series is there to beat it.
Half-way through our journey we stop for lunch at Schloss Eberstein just outside Gernsbach (worth a visit if you are ever in the area, they have good Schnitzel too). Here we swap cars and change into the much smaller and less powerful but more nimble GLA 45 AMG. We make our way to Rust accompanied by the SLS AMG Black Series and the G63 AMG, on the autobahn our GLA 45 AMG is no match for the SLS AMG Black Series that cracks the 300 km/h mark with ease but thanks to some traffic we still arrive in Rust together and in time for the parade.
Parade? Yes, the Europa-Park arranged a special parade of AMG cars through the park for todays visitors to see. We swap cars once again and before I saon find myself in the best seat: the rear passenger seat of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. With the television on and a relaxing massage activated we cruise through the various countries in the Europa-Park, from England to Switzerland and Russia to France. People can’t believe their eyes when the SLS AMG Black Series and SLR McLaren drive through the park, both with their doors open!
After the parade we have the opportunity to walk through the park and explore possible photo locations for the evening, but also try some of the roller coasters and rides at the Europa Park. We start warm ourselves up to some G-forces with the bobsled ride in the Swiss area of the park, soon followed by one of the most thrilling rides in the park: The Blue Fire. With several loopings and twists its certain gets your blood going.
Blue Fire at Europa Park
Following the Blue Fire we also try the Wodan Timbur Coaster, the Eurosat indoor coaster and the most thrilling of them all: the Mercedes-Benz powered Silver Star! As Europe’s second highest and fifth fastest roller coaster this is a most try for adrenaline junkies. We would say it comes close to a wild ride in a McLaren P1 or Koenigsegg Agera R with some serious additional vertical G’s. For those with weak stomaches, next to the Silver Star entrance is also a small museum with currently an exhibition of SLS AMG’s, including the Black Series, the SLS Electric Drive and a SLS AMG GT3 car.
With the clock hitting six and the park slowly closing its doors it back to work for us and the photographers on scene. After a small briefing we pair up in teams of 2-3 people and set out into the park with our first car, a CLS AMG Shooting Brake. Sadly it has started raining which makes the photography conditions far from ideal. As we make our way to the park we come across various national and international photographers, including GS Automotive Art, Kai Dalibor and Mario Klemm to name a few.
As darkness falls and the rain continues to worsen we stumble upon an Arena in the Spanish section of the park that has become the hotspot for the SLR McLaren and SLS AMG Black Series. Stay tuned for an overview of the best shots of all photographers on GTspirit in the next couple of days! With the clock showing past midnight the rain disappears and we can go on the quest for some more exotic locations in the park. Its far in Iceland that we bump into the guys from the German Mercedes-Benz Passion website. They are on their way with a silver CLA 45 AMG, in the meantime we have swapped our CLS 63 AMG for a G63 AMG. In black the G63 AMG is one of the hardest cars to shoot in the dark and also one of the hardest cars to maneuver over tight walkways and past the many obstacles.
Around 3am the park also closed for us and we headed off to bed for a quick power nap. The next morning we woke up to the beautiful sound of V8s roaring around the hotel parking lot. A quick group picture marked the last moment together before returning to the home of Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart. The first night at Europa Park clearly shows Mercedes-Benz effort to embrace young photographers and engage with a younger audience online. And by doing so they also set the benchmark for social media activities at large car manufacturers.
Special thanks to Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes AMG for the invite and support!