Last week we joined Mercedes-Benz on their annual event, ‘A night at the Europa-Park’. In an empty theme park, a handful of talented photographers were given the opportunity to shoot a wide range of Mercedes-Benz cars in an unique and spectacular setting. Just like last year, we were privileged enough to be invited to join and it certainly was another experience to remember.
Our journey started in Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Benz headquarters. From here we would drive towards the Europa-Park in Rust. When we arrived in Stuttgart an impressive line-up of Mercedes’s were already awaiting us. Amongst the line-up were several G63 AMG’s, a CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake, a S65 AMG Coupé and the all new GLE and GLE Coupé.
Unlike last year, the weather was in our favour, so we were very excited to get the keys of the SL400, the only convertible amongst the line-up. With the roof down we set our course towards the Europapark. Along the way Mercedes arranged a stop at the Unimog museum in Gaggenau. The museum displays the rich history of the Unimog and they have a test track behind the museum where visitors are able to experience the impressive capabilities of the beast that is the Unimog. For instance, the test track includes a steep 45 degree climb and unbelievably cambered banks. The museum is definitely worth a visit, especially the passenger ride in the Unimog. More info about the Unimog museum can be found here.
After the Unimog tour and a hearty meal, we headed towards out final destination, the Europapark. We faced heavy traffic along the way, but with the roof down and the sun shining we had no complaints. We were surprised by the sound of the SL400. Of course we’re all familiar with the phenomenal sound of the AMG engines, but especially in sport mode, the 6-cylinders in the SL made a glorious and deep bellow.
After we arrived the cars were all fuelled up and cleaned for the photoshoot that would take place later that night. At 6pm the park visitors were asked to leave and it was our turn to have some fun. We gained access to the park and after a short briefing we were given the opportunity to take a ride in the Mercedes powered Silverstar, one of the fastest rollercoasters in Europe. With a near-verticle climb of 73 meters followed by a descent of 67 meters, it is the highest rollercoaster in Europe. The rollercoaster will reach a claimed topspeed of 130 km/h.
After two wild rollercoaster rides, all the cars were gathered and we paired up in teams of two. For the next couple of hours we had the full park to ourselves and several fairytale backdrops to shoot the cars. Besides the cars that made the drive from Stuttgart towards the Europapark, Mercedes arranged two AMG GT’s, a Unimog and a Mercedes 6×6 AMG to shoot during the night completing the stunning line-up.
As the name of the park suggests, the central theme of the park is Europe. The park is divided in several ‘countries’ which all have thematic sceneries and attractions. For instance there is Spain, with it’s typical Spanish bull-fighting arena, France, where you can really taste the French atmosphere and Scandinavia, a scene which gives you the feeling like you’re in a fishing village deep in Norway.
During the night we got the chance to shoot a G63, S65 AMG Coupé, S500 Coupé, and last but by no means least, the G63 6×6 AMG. Besides the 6×6, all cars were black which made it quite a challenge to shoot during the night. Luckily some scenes were well lit, for instance Scandinavia where we shot the G63 and 6×6 AMG. Before we knew it the clock hit 3am and it was time for us to leave the park and get some sleep.
The next morning it was time to get back in the cars again. We were supposed to be back in Stuttgart around 6 pm which meant we had a full day of fun ahead with the cars. We jumped in the SL400 again and teamed up with the white S500 Coupé. We decided to drive up to the black forest, a great forested mountain range in south-west Germany. The area is home to some very fun driving roads and great scenery which we thought were the perfect place to spend the day. The weather was bright and warm again which allowed us to drive roofless for the entire day.
After a full day of driving, shooting and enjoying the sun, it was time to drive back to Stuttgart. At 5:30 pm we arrived back in Stuttgart and handed over the keys of the cars. Just like last year the event was a great succes and we’re already looking forward to the next edition.
Another huge thanks to Mercedes-Benz for hosting GTspirit, it was clear to see that a lot of planning and work went into making sure the entire event was run smoothly.