A day in a life of an instructor.
Christian "Shifty" Schiffrer is an instructor at the G-Class Experience Center in Graz and gives deep and exciting insights into his everyday activities.
Instructor Christian from the G-Class Experience Center took the time for an interview with us exclusively for the G-Class Private Lounge. We talk about his working day, his motivators and look behind the scenes with him.
Christian, when does your day at the G-Class Experience Center start, when does it end and what needs to be prepared before the guests arrive?
We start early in the morning and don't end work until all the G-Classes are safely back in the garage. What would this beautiful playground be without the right toys? Therefore, we get the entire fleet in position, all the special models in the right places and all the equipment in the G Base (lounge, screens, presentations, etc.). Another very important thing is the personalised name cards for the guests, of course. So, we have a lot going on behind the scenes.
What are the things/experiences/preparations you would not expect when thinking about being an instructor?
Apart from the back office activities and the various preparations in the background, it is the different people to whom you have to adapt individually on a daily basis in order to offer everyone the best possible experience. Certain language barriers also clearly present certain challenges in this profession. The physical challenge here should not be underestimated either – I clock up an average of around 13.4 km per day on my pedometer. It is not just standing in the shade with the walkie-talkie.
Hand on heart – how hard is it to stand in front of the guests every day and keep smiling?
Not hard at all. But, of course, the day itself and the weather conditions play a role. However, the positive mood of the guests and their excitement always helps to ensure that we all give 110% to provide the maximum possible experience for everyone.
What do you look forward to most every day?
To put it briefly, the emotion of our guests. The joy and pride in themselves for having mastered the driving stations that sometimes seem to push the boundaries of physics.
How does a typical day like this with the guests pan out? What driving stations do they experience at the G-Class Experience Center?
Immediately after arriving and being greeted, the guests check in. This is where they receive the coveted personalised name cards. Followed by a short presentation about the history of the G-Class and a technical demonstration in which they are shown, among other things, the function of our three “magic” buttons (editorial note: what is meant are the three mechanical differential locks).
After that, things really get going and they get behind the wheel themselves at one of the three driving stations.
After lunch, on weekdays, they go on a production tour with us instructors as tour guides to experience the process of manufacturing a G-Class. Immediately afterwards, back at the G-Class Experience Center to experience the two other driving stations and get back behind the wheel. After successfully completing the on-road station with the Mercedes-AMG G 63 and our two off-road stations (G Rock and Forest), there is a special program with our colleagues, but I don't want to spoil anything here – people just have to come and experience it themselves.
Do you have a favourite station that you look after?
I basically enjoy looking after all the stations, but t if I had to choose one, it would probably be G Rock. This is where I feel the guests' triumph and sense of achievement the most. In addition, the panorama of the G-Class models on 80% gradients combined with the Schöckl trail is not to be sneezed at, either.
Would you describe being an instructor as your dream job?
Perhaps I should say here that I have a product-design company in addition to my work as an instructor. For me personally, the mix is the decisive factor. I just love the variety that these two actually contrasting areas give.
So, in short, it is two-thirds my dream job, but then combined with my company it gives me a 110% dream job.
How big is your team of instructors and what do you think an instructor should bring with?
The main team consists of about six colleagues, but we also have 'floaters' – giving us about 12 instructors now. Communication is the be-all and end-all here. A very good understanding of vehicle dynamics and physics is also a must-have. A bit of patience is also an advantage. Foreign languages help enormously in an instructor's daily routine. However, the most important thing is and remains the passion to give guests an experience as well as to enter into a friendly dialogue with people from all over the world in an open and honest way.
What was the weirdest thing you ever experienced as an instructor?
Oh, what can I say... together with my colleagues we have already thought about writing a book describing our experiences. It is actually quite difficult for me to choose a particular one now. But let's do it this way – any readers visiting us at the G-Class Experience Center should just ask my colleagues or me for a 'best of'.
What do you want to tell the readers or give them to take away with them?
Here, too, it is not easy for me to find one thing. The best thing I can say is that, if you would like to really see or feel what the G-Class is capable of, and if you would like to drive the G-Class to the limit in its natural habitat, then my colleagues and I would be delighted if you come to spend a day with us in Graz.