Brooklands has long been one of my favourite Old Car destinations. Five years ago everything changed: Mercedes took control of the remaining inner parts of the old circuit, cleared the site of unwanted buildings and built Mercedes-Benz World. Part-showroom, part-museum and part-test-track it is a unique expression of the Mercedes brand
I’ve been to MB World a few times before but, until now, have never really explored the place. It is unashamedly Corporate Benz in approach but that’s no bad thing – everything is finished to the highest standards and it has the space and the budget to do justice to the company heritage
Cars on display include a replica of a single-cylinder Benz dating back to 1875, a selection of beautifully-restored cars from the fifties through to the nineties, F1 cars from 1999 to 2010 and new & used examples of current Mercedes models
In addition to the cars there is a series of displays detailing the history of Mercedes technical developments. This is a lovingly-designed and beautifully constructed exhibition with models, displays and period photographs assembled to demonstrate the depth of engineering skill at MB. The ‘exploded’ F1 car on the second floor continues this theme with an intriguing static display of a 2010 Mercedes Grand Prix car suspended in mid-air
There’s lots to see at MB World. At times it’s difficult to discern any common theme running through the exhibits but that’s not really a problem or a criticism. If you’re looking for a museum go next door to Brooklands – MB World is more concerned with the here & now
Outside on the test track metallic black AMG V8s bark and burble. The wet handling circle is close by and is a compelling spectacle. Evidently no new driver manages to drift the circle without spinning but the instructors manage effortless low-speed drifts as they dodge the water sprays that wet the surface. The MB driving & experience courses on offer (standard cars, AMG V8s, off-road and young driver training) vary in price but are all very tempting
There’s more than a hint of Ken Adam about the interior of the building. The louvered windows, sloping walls and curved surfaces make it the ideal lair for an evil mastermind. Thankfully the black-clad staff are inclined more towards customer service than world domination so Weybridge and the Home Counties are safe… for now!