RIDE HOT AT LAGUNA SECA: Mercedes-AMG has festive viewing with a 21st century twist - spectacular and interactive 360-degree videos with this AMG GT S as a star. Image: Mercedes-AMG
• Free on phones, iPad, lap/desktop
• Mercedes-AMG GT S star of show
• Inside or out with new tech
Never has Christmas internet been so vivid. And Mercedes-Benz is set to give festive viewing a 21st century twist with s a series of spectacular and interactive 360-degree videos featuring some of the fastest and most exciting cars yet created.
Best of all, they’re free...
They can be viewed through Samsung Gear Virtual Reality (VR) devices and the first two feature the all-new Mercedes-AMG GT S being driven at - and a little way beyond - its limits around the Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
18 CAMERAS USED
The experience is so vivid that it feels like you’re hovering just off the front or back bumper of the new GT – a view even the most determined tailgater would struggle to replicate. Likewise, you can opt to take a virtual seat next to the driver to experience what the action feels like from inside the car.
The videos, free through the Oculus Store by searching for ‘Mercedes-AMG GT’, were shot with 18 cameras mounted on special rigs. The output from each was then electronically stitched to create one seamless lap of the Laguna Seca track in 360-degrees view.The resulting video, shot by virtual-reality specialist Visualise, is an app called ‘Mercedes-AMG GT’ which can be downloaded from the Oculus Store on to what is the heart of the Samsung Gear VR – a powerful Galaxy Note 4 smartphone.
Once the app has downloaded the phone is inserted into a Gear VR headset and the user can simply look around, as in real life, to change the view of the action as the Mercedes-AMG GT is driven hard around the track.
The smartphone is available to now (check with you local dealer). The Gear VR has launched in North America with its European arrival about now.
APPS ARE FREE - GO GYROSCOPIC!
But, for those looking for a more immediate dose of AMG action, the videos can also be downloaded via the iTunes store - or by searching ‘Mercedes-AMG GT’. The Android version is expected to be ready early January 2015.
Like the virtual-reality version, the apps are free and can be put on any iPhone or iPad whose owners can then use the gyroscopic sensors to move the camera angle to give a 360-degree virtual window into driving at high speed aroundLaguna Seca.
For desktop users (that's you, now!) the video of five times DTM champion Bernd Schneider being chased down can be viewed right here. Enjoy, courtesy of Wheels24.
A solo lap, with the GT S being driven very, very sideways, can be viewed here.
The Mercedes-AMG GT app is just one of 11 stunning 360-degree videos captured during 2014. Cameras were recording when the championship-winning Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W05 Formula 1 car was driven for the very first time in a pre-season test at Silverstone by Nico Rosberg.
FESTIVAL OF SPEED, TOO...
Cameras were in place when 2014 F1 champion Lewis Hamilton set out to destroy some rear tyres on an E 63 AMG S Estate around the track and again when Nico Rosberg demonstrated an often-overlooked skill for an F1 driver - doing donuts.
The spectacular Goodwood Festival of Speed was captured in 360-degrees too – everything from a 1937 W125 Silver Arrow Grand Prix car to the more contemporary F1 W03 heading up The Hill had cameras attached to allow the experience to be relived in the most attention-grabbing and vivid way possible.
The Mercedes-AMG film allows viewers and potential customers to get a little closer to the car – albeit in virtual form – ahead of the arrival of the real car in showrooms in April 2015.