‘Such a sad loss for the world’: Maro Engel takes a break at the Macau GP to open up about the death of his friend Chester Bennington
German driver’s car will feature Linkin Park livery in Sunday’s race
The death of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington in July sent shock waves across the music world and sent millions of fans across the globe into mourning for the loss of the charismatic lead singer.
German driver Maro Engel was among those deeply affected when Bennington took his own life, having formed a strong friendship with the singer and his bandmates through their shared commercial associations with the Mercedes-AMG organisation.
“The news was terrible. It was just heartbreaking,” said Engel, during a break in practice in Macau. “They’re such great guys with such a great vibe and spirit. It was a pleasure to be able to get to know Chester, and it is such a sad loss for the world.”
This week Engel’s Mercedes features special one-off Linkin Park livery as it races in the Suncity Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup – designed by the band – as the driver and his team work to call attention to the mental afflictions that led to Bennington’s death, and to offer hope for help to those who suffer as the singer did.
“It’s great that we are able to show the support to the Linkin Park family and to members of the group,” said Engel. “Everyone who knew Chester would tell you he was such a positive person, and so full of life. He was so inspiring. You would never of thought of that [suicide] for him. But it shows that we all need to turn our attention to a subject that is really important in modern society.”
The singer’s widow, Talinda Bennington, is set to appear at the Mercedes me store in Central on Friday night, helping promote both Linkin Park’s “One More Light Fund” and the recently launched “320 Foundation”, which aims to open up access to mental health resources and awareness.
The Mercedes Linkin Park livery will be featured on a display Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster at the store until December.
“It’s still almost a no-go to speak about depression but it shouldn’t be,” said Engel. “It’s something that’s present in our everyday life. So it’s important to get that message out there, and to get people knowing that there are places they can call and people they can talk to. It’s the same for relatives and friends. They can learn about what they are dealing with. We feel honoured that we can help spread that message.”