Two-time world F1 champion Mika Hakkinen is in town for Johnnie Walker’s ‘Join the Pact’ campaign. Bearing the slogan ‘Winners Always Stay in Control’, the campaign aims to discourage motorists from drink driving and to stress the importance of staying in full control at all times.
To illustrate the latter, Hakkinen performed a series of skilled fast driving manoeuvres around a marked-out track in an enclosure near the Subang Skypark Terminal earlier today, in a Mercedes SLS AMG. Taiwan-based artist JJ Lin, also there to promote the cause, was the first to ride shotgun and be subjected to the Flying Finn’s sliding antics.
The car slithered through a series of S-bends and a long sweeping curve before culminating in a hairpin, which Hakkinen naturally drifted through, smoothly and (apparently) leisurely.
I was next to ride alongside the F1 legend. We made polite small talk, and I asked him if the SLS was an easy car to slide.
“No, it’s not.” And we were off, the massive V8 making carnal, staccato howls as he flicked the wheel left and right. Hakkinen made it seem all too easy, and at no point was he not in full control of the car.
The track was a simple setup. It was just some cones on an empty parking lot, but the growl of the V8 and the ultra quick brap of the DCT shifting as the SLS AMG tore up the tarmac made it epic.
The SLS AMG is Mercedes-Benz AMG’s first AMG-exclusive car, and the gull wing coupe is powered by a 90 degree 6.2 litre V8 engine, producing 571 PS at 6,800rpm and 650Nm of torque at 4,750rpm.
Each engine is built by one person in the AMG factory and has a plaque on the top of the engine signed by the builder. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission.
Launched in Malaysia three years ago, ‘Join the Pact’ is so named because the idea is to get consumers to sign a pledge never to drink and drive. About 750,000 people have signed to date.
Head onto the Join the Pact Facebook app and sign your name to join the pact! And of course the take home message is don’t drink and drive!
Gallery after the jump.