Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Daimler Board, and Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group, welcomed all the guests to the official presentation, with Lewis Hamilton, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today, and Heikki Kovalainen joined on stage by Pedro de la Rosa and fellow test driver Gary Paffett to unveil the MP4-23.
The car was completed yesterday and left the McLaren Technology Centre in the UK at around 18:00 GMT on Sunday and was driven in a Mercedes-Benz Actros to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, having covered approximately 1000kms, arriving around 10:00 this morning.
Upon arrival in Stuttgart, the car was transported to the 53,000 sqm Mercedes-Benz Museum, one of the world’s largest and most renowned car museums. About 700 Mercedes-Benz employees from the nearby manufacturing plant Stuttgart-Untertürkheim had the opportunity to attend today’s event at the end of their early shift alongside the more than 400 media and other guests. The Mercedes-Benz employees had the opportunity to enter a draw of which the lucky winners were able to meet and spend some time with Lewis and Heikki.
Following today’s event the car will be transported to the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain, where on Wednesday 9thJanuary Heikki and Pedro will start the test programme with two MP4-23 chassis at a private test. The team will remain at the circuit for five track days, excluding the weekend. Lewis will drive the 2008 car for the first time on Thursday 10th January alongside Heikki.