I had the great pleasure to spend a special weekend at the Nürburgring in May 2017 with IWC and Mercedes-AMG to celebrate the car brand’s 50-year anniversary, in honor of which IWC presented a sporty new special edition Ingenieur chronograph.
A weekend of watches and racing at the Nürburgring 24 Hours: what could be better?!
At the 74th Goodwood Members’ Meeting in March 2017, IWC revealed an evolutionary line of classic motorsports-inspired watches with various complications and elements. Some of those watches reflect the original ideas expressed by iconic designer Gérald Genta, when he designed the first Ingenieur launched in 1976.
I, for one, am a big fan of the more recent version of the Ingenieur line introduced in 2013 in honor of the IWC’s then-new Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 partnership (IWC and Mercedes-AMG have been partners since 2004) called the Ingenieur Automatic AMG Black Series Ceramic: these are bold racing-inspired watches with black cases, rubber straps, hints of carbon fiber, and flashes of fearless greens and reds.
The new-for-2017 versions, while extremely aesthetic, don’t feel particularly “racy” to me. However, nearly 48 hours after strapping a new Ingenieur Chronograph Sport to my wrist I felt quite positive about it.
I was the designated wearer of a Chronograph Sport model with black dial in a 44 mm titanium case on a black calf skin strap (Reference IW380901). While this exact model would not have been not my first choice, I was able to see the beauty of this watch, although I did swap about with my fellow press colleagues a bit to mix it up.
AMG GT R Racing
It was an absolute pleasure speaking with Maro Engel, driver for Mercedes-AMG GT R, Mercedes-AMG brand ambassador, and the defending champion of the 24 Hours Nürburgring.
This circuit is well up there in Engel’s top three tracks to drive: food, electrolytes, and snatched sleep are a must, he said, if you want to prevail in this crazy race, where anything can happen during 24 hours. He has a lack of rituals and superstitions . . . other than always getting in the car from the left and putting his left race shoe on first. He wears no jewelry or carries anything of sentiment, prefering to be clear and free of any distractions.
I also had the chance to speak with Bernd Schneider, an amusing and legendary German race driver and Mercedes-AMG ambassador, who reminisced when he was an active driver about the smell of the sausages cooking on the barbeques around the race track and the shear amount of spectators’ flash guns lighting certain parts of the circuit.
I had never been to the infamous race circuit before this exciting weekend.
This old race track is steeped in history, the original track dating to the 1920s with the GP race track introduced in 1984. It spans more than 25 kilometers (16 miles) around the low Eifel mountain range and the historic Rhineland town of Nürburg.
With elevations of up to 300 meters, Sir Jackie Stewart nicknamed the 20-kilometer-long north loop of the old track “the Green Hell.”
It isn’t just the circuit that is amazing: like all racing series and race tracks, the Nürburgring has a very loyal fan base, the majority of which comprises impassioned German aficionados who make a weekend of such events with loud music, paddling pools, and fantasic-smelling barbecues. These fans occupy their deck chairs throughout the whole 24-hour race. A great many fans had also traveled from afar to witness this annual spectacle.
My highlight was being in the pit garage for a driver change several hours before race ended. The teamwork and communication is immense, though surprisingly calm. Precision and efficiency are the rule.
Mercedes-AMG GT3 Edition 50 automobile
Celebrating 50 years of Mercedes-AMG, a collectible GT3 Edition of only five cars retailing for around £600,000 (taxes included) was unveiled at the Nürburgring (see Mercedes-AMG GT3 Edition 50 Unveiled At The Nürburgring).
You can’t just walk into a dealership and buy this road-illegal beast with special matte grey paint, exposed carbon fiber, and 650 German horses under the bonnet; you have to be invited by AMG to purchase one.
An IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition 50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG timepiece will be included for the owners of these exceptional automobiles.
For more on the IWC Ingenieur Sport Edition, please see www.iwc.com/en/collection/ingenieur/IW380902.
Quick Facts IWC Ingenieur Chronograph Sport Edition 50th Anniversary of Mercedes-AMG
Case: 44 x 15.9 mm, titanium, soft iron inner case protecting against magnetic fields
Movement: automatic IWC Caliber 89361 with 68-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking seconds; date, flyback chronograph
Limitation: 250 pieces
Disclosure: Simon Cudd was invited as a guest of IWC.