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The tests: 351.45 km/h, High speed record for 23-inch Exelero wide tires on Fulda/Maybach concept car

Greatest challenge to technology and material - TÜV inspection approves test start

Sunrise in a radiantly blue Southern Italian sky. The atmosphere is tense on Nardo’s 12.5-kilometer circuit. Klaus Ludwig, a three-time DTM winner sits in his racing gear and helmet, apparently completely calm, at the wheel of the Maybach Exelero and waits for the signal to start in his attempt on the record.

This highlight of the project had been preceded by a number of intensive tests, starting with the various wind tunnel phases. In accordance with the results, the Exelero was optimized correspondingly.

Then in March came the roll-out in Turin where the Maybach Exelero was officially handed over to the client, Fulda Reifen.

In mid-April, it then went to the so-called "running-in track” at the Sindelfingen plant. Here, the vehicle was subjected to intensive checks of its engine functions, brakes, chassis and handling etc., already at speeds of around 200 km/h.

Finally, at the end of April, the technical inspection of the Exelero was carried out on the DaimlerChrysler test track in Papenburg, i.e. the test measurements conducted provided the basis for preparations for the attempt at the high speed record in Nardo. For example, Spoilers were tried out in various positions and further adjustments made to optimize the speed and stability.

Since the Exelero vehicle is intended to prove itself in the long run in practical use, it was appropriately designed as a road machine and needed a license. That meant that the TÜV (Technical Control Board) had to give its technical blessing to the Exelero. Peter Kühlwein, one of the most experienced experts of TÜV Automotive GmbH, Gruppe Süd, tested and evaluated the safety-relevant vehicle components like the seats with the safety belts and the weight distribution within the car. All points were checked off to the satisfaction of the TÜV engineer or otherwise reconfigured.

When all the reservations from the side of the DaimlerChrysler specialists, the tire engineers and the TÜV experts, had been satisfied, nothing stood in the way of the final mission in Southern Italy.

The entire team already arrived on Thursday. On this day and the next, the Exelero was completely checked yet again. On Saturday the team checked all the measuring facilities and conducted trial measurements as well as several test laps with technical project manager Jürgen Weissinger at the wheel. Early on Sunday morning then everything was ready: The final test could begin.

At 7.09 hrs., Klaus Ludwig already completed his first lap at a speed of 346 km/h. Just one lap later the targeted record of 350 was broken. The FIA standardized measuring unit registered a world record top speed of 351.45 km/h! Klaus Ludwig’s comments after breaking the record: "It was unbelievable how easily the vehicle could be handled at this record speed. Particularly the tires conveyed an absolutely safe feeling. Everything was simply just right: technology, chassis and tires."

Bernd J. Hoffmann, Managing Director of Fulda Reifen, thanked all the teams involved for their outstanding efforts: "Everybody gave their best and thus made this success possible. The vehicle and tires supplement each other perfectly."

An idea becomes reality.