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      09-26-2017, 01:43 PM   #1
Dackelone
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Arrow We Joined BMW in Celebrating the 40th anniversary of BMW Driving Experience School

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Maisach, Germany

#40YearsAhead...





Happy 40th(!) BMW Driving Academy!!



BMW AG contacted me a while back and asked if I would be interested in covering the 40th anniversary of BMW Driving Experience School - I was like... Ohhh Yes I am!!! I knew it was gonna be a cool event, but I had no idea how great a day it turned out to be! It was like Christmas and Birthday all rolled into one. Not only did I get to meet the top guys at BMW ///M... and the guys at the driving academy... but almost all their DTM drivers and brand ambassadors as well. I was in a bit of star stuck mode the whole day. Here are some photos of last week's event and afterwards we headed to Oktoberfest!!


The way it was described to me was we would arrive at 10am, have some briefings from Frank van Meel and company... then we would drive some of the current driving academy cars around the testing facilities. I had no idea what cars we would be driving. I was hoping they would have a fleet of new M5's for us. But to my surprise we got to drive something even more special!!


First off I can't say enough on how well organized and thoughtful the entire BMW crew was. Everyone was just so nice. I really shocked me how down to earth the movers and shakers of BMW and BMW ///M are in person. Heck even the DTM drivers and brand ambassadors - were just so friendly and great to talk with. And the instructors at the BMW Driving Academy have really an awesome job. They were all professionals - and they really let us have some great fun on the track. And... I think we all came away learning a thing or two about car control... whether it was your first time on a track or if you were a seasoned track junkie. It was a really awesome day!!


In 1977, BMW was the first car manufacturer in the world to offer driver training and became a pioneer in the field. The BMW Driving Academy first started off when ///M GmbH first formed and BMW was looking for a way to train it's drivers, its employees and it's customers. The year was 1977 - and as they say, the rest is history. Since then, BMW has been training drivers all over the world, in many locals. There are a host of driver training experiences to choose from current BMW cars, as well as MINI vehicles and also training for motorcyclists. The BMW Customised Experience also provides the opportunity to browse all the available vehicles, training locations and training content to put together a tailored, individual event.



Here is a little PR from BMW's press department...

Quote:
As part of the anniversary event at the BMW and MINI Driving Academy site in Maisach, journalists had the chance to test BMW models from various eras, supervised by professional instructors, and get a feel for the mobility of the past, present and future.

“The BMW and MINI Driving Experience has been helping people to experience sheer driving pleasure with driver training for 40 years and forms a direct link to the customer,” says Frank van Meel, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW M GmbH. “There is no better way to get to know the driving behaviour of a BMW, BMW M or MINI vehicle than with professional training from the experienced instructors at the BMW and MINI Driving Experience. Anyone who has had the pleasure of taming the horsepower of one of our BMW M models during drift or racetrack training courses knows exactly what I am talking about. The BMW and MINI Driving Experience has a long history and is also ideally set up to meet the challenges of the future. Topics such as electromobility, innovative assistance systems and autonomous driving concepts are all parts of today's training content. Looking forward ensures that the BMW and MINI Driving Experience will continue to be the most emotive product and brand experience within the BMW Group and retain its position as the global competence centre for active driving experiences.”

The journalists felt the fervour of the active driving experiences in Maisach, travelling through time to see the development of the various stages of mobility. They completed braking and evasion exercises in current and historic BMW cars, which allowed them to compare driving with and without assistance systems such as ABS and DSC. At the wheel of a BMW M550i (fuel consumption in the NEDC combined cycle: 9.1 – 8.6 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 209 – 204 g/km)*, participants got to experience modern driving assistance systems, such as lane keeping assist with active side collision protection, steering and lane control assist, including traffic jam assist, and the speed limit information system with “Intelligent Speed Limit Assist”. Laps in the BMW M4 GTS (fuel consumption in the NEDC combined cycle: 8.5 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 199 g/km)* and the BMW M4 CS (fuel consumption in the NEDC combined cycle: 8.4 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 197 g/km)* provided an extra helping of driving pleasure.

Active in more than 30 countries worldwide, the BMW and MINI Driving Experience competence centre provides around 50 different courses for BMW and MINI models, as well as BMW motorbikes, under the guidance of professional instructors. More than 25,000 people took part in training courses across Germany in 2016, with more than 100,000 participating around the world.


On September 14th, 2012 BMW opened the BMW Driving Academy in Maisach. Maisach - a former Luftwaffe(West German air force)base just outside of Munich. It's a relict from the cold war. Since 2012, it is used daily to train driving skills that any driver can learn, helping to make roads safer. Today, that initial goal encompasses much more than just training programs in safe driving: whether drift manoeuvres on ice and snow, chauffeur driver training or even the search for the racing line on demanding circuits.






Here are some of the people that I recognized who were at this press event...


Frank van Meel, Managing director of ///M GmbH.

Dirk Häcker, Head of development ///M GmbH cars.

Robert Eichlinger, Leader of BMW and MINI Driving Experience.


Claudia Hürtgen
Marco Wittmann
Augusto Farfus
Tom Blomqvist
Klaus Heimerl
Alex Zanardi

Prince Leopold of Bayern

Lena Gercke (supermodel and BMW's newest brand ambassador)



NOTE: There were more drivers there that day... but these were the ones that recognized. I was a little bit star struck this day. It's one thing to recognize your driving heros on tv... it's another to sit across the table from them or joke around with them between laps.



Frank van Meel and Dirk Häcker held a brief press conference upstairs in the training center. Afterwards we broke up into small three and four person groups out onto the driver training area.


For my group our first event was to sample the technology that BMW offers on the five series. We drove a small fleet of M550i xDrive's out to the back run way of Maisach(formerly an air force base)... First impression was the M550i sounds damn good on startup with it's Performance Exhaust system. It drives like a dream too.

Once we got "on station" our instructor took us out in his M550i and showed us some of the features that I had no idea BMW offers. Things like lane departure and blind spot detection isn't anything new. But I didn't not realize that with Active Cruise Control the car would actually brake(hard!) if the car you are following suddenly stops. I also wasn't aware that the car pretty much can steer itself - following the white lines of the road. Speed limit info displayed is nothing new... but we were also shown that IF a car suddenly stops in front of you.. IF you don't brake hard or quick enough... the car will help you stop! Also when parking... IF you disregard the PDC beeping... the car will brake(hard) to avoid an impact.

I was really surprised how much I enjoyed driving the big M550i. I could rock one as a everyday driver.

We also did a run where we approached an object(that resembled a VW mini van) we had to brake and swerve to avoid it. BUT... if you did not touch the brakes or IF you did not move the steering wheel quite quick enough... the CAR would do it for you! That was quite shocking. The car would literally avoid hitting another car. We were all quite impressed.








Next we got to try our hand at drifting! Who doesn't enjoy drifting. Well... one person in our group didn't, but that just gave the rest of us more "seat time". We were put behind the wheel of several M4's all with DCT. The water was turned on and away we drove. So much fun!!

Earlier I saw the film crew filming Lena Gercke(BMW's new Brand Ambassador) and Marco Wittmann in a M4 - drifting it around the slalom course. I think Marco was a bit distracted driving... lol I think Marco enjoyed being a passenger more on this day!

I also got to see Frank van Meel and Dirk Häcker drive this part of the skidpad. It was quite cool to see the ///M boss well... driving like a BOSS... because he really slid that M4 around the track. I think Frank and Dirk had a little competition among themselves this day. Its cool that they just aren't paper pushers but that they really enjoy the core values of a ///M car DNA. Very cool to see first hand.


So... it was then our group's turn at the slalom... man what fun this was. I really won't go too much into what we did. I will let the photos down bellow speak for themselves. All in all, a really cool event to learn car control techniques in a safe environment.


Next we were off to sample 40 years of BMW's. We got to drive an e21 red 316i 5 speed, an e36 M3 in Dakar Yellow, an e30 M3 with the dog legged 1st gear being down and to the left(!), that was a little different for some of us. And then a 2017, 530d xDrive auto. The 530d was by far the fastest and safest car of the bunch.

Our instructor told us something cute... he said his colleagues over at BMW Classic who maintain these old-er cars... ask one thing from us... Feel free to use the brakes and tires and suspension as much as you like... but PLEASE don't over rev the engines or take them to redline. It would be very nice if these cars lasted another forty years in their fleet. I thought that was a really nice way to tell us not to abuse these classic cars.

I was first surprised how a relatively modern BMW, like the e36M3... felt so old and underpowered to current BMW models. The steering wheel was super thin(felt like a pencil to my hands) and the plastic on the doors felt so out of date. And I have owned a few e36's over the years - which I found it even more shocking that I felt this way. But your mind forgets these little things until you step back into a time machine. And that is exactly what BMW was letting us do... these cars were so pristine! hey all only had 20k-ish kms on them. Everything looked and felt new. Everythng. But its amazing to step into a car 20, 30, 40 years old and you notice things. How thin the A, B, C pillars are. How the cars feel and perform. Afterwards it sure makes you appreciative of the design of new cars.

I went from the e36M3 into the e30M3... and man was that a time machine. I know everyone lusts and drools over the e30... but to me it was really underpowered and lacking. But it did have quite a tight chassis and it was fun tossing it around the course. I just love the design and way the e30 is laid out. But the driving dynamics and power just doesn't give me that "fizz" feeling. Flame suit on!


Then I drove the red e21, 316i with 70ish Hp. This thing was a slug. No power steering, no ABS(only car here without ABS), but the car was super clean. It was quite a handful under braking in the rain... but fun. Some guys killed a few cones under braking and lane changing.

Everyone lusted after this car's classic BMW coupe's lines. This car was iconic. I could not believe how clean the carpets were inside and how well it drove for a 40 year old car! I think that's the main thing you come away with - a day at the track like this. BMW's DNA in its cars over the years... they just make fun safe cars. Thru the years the safety level has gone way up... but the fun factor is still there. It's great to see that BMW still hasn't forgotten its roots.

My last test car was the grey 530d xDrive. This thing was a rocket(not anywhere near as fast as the M550i but fast for a diesel!). It launched very hard off the line... in fact it could easily spin the wet tires in 1st and 2nd gears out of the starting gate. But even though it was the largest car - by far... it handled like a dream(thanks active shocks!) and had some stellar brakes. I think we all were very impressed with this 5er.

It was amazing to drive so many different cars, over a forty year time frame from ONE automaker! And yet they ALL were fun to drive and offered a lot of driving enjoyment. You can see the passion in BMW, right here in these cars. They couldn't be so different yet so much the same. It was also nice to see the people working at BMW have so much passion as well.


Next up was the high speed test track. We got to drive two M4 GTS's and two M4 CS's. I was really surprised by the CS. I wasn't expecting to like it so much... but man did I. No question which M4 I'd buy with my money. You could really feel that the CS was lighter than a M4 and the CS felt like it had more midrange power. The GTS was just "next level" stuff. Man did the GTS's exhaust put one into an ear orgasim!! The bark of that exhaust once past 6K to 8K was just amazing. And the way the engine would pull at uber rpms was just spectacular. The GTS is definitely at home on the track. It is a track weapon for sure. But for me... the CS was that perfect sweet spot. I really enjoyed driving it.

Afterwards... we had some free time... so one of the instructors took me out for some fast laps. This was the day's highlight - for me!!


our little hot laps in the GTS...




After all the driving training events ended... we headed back to our hotel and changed into our Lederhosen - and headed over to the Oktoberfest! BMW had a whole section upstairs in the Käfer Wies‘n-Schänke tent at Oktoberfest... reserved for us "VIP's"... it was very nice. Good food and beer... and nice girls to look at(and dance)with. What more could one want? There is a saying in German that every woman looks beautiful in a dirndl dress... and that is so true.



I want to thank BMW for making this such a memorable event for me. I hope I showed you guys what it was like to spend a day at the Maisach track and with BMW. I know I will always remember this special day.


Happy 40th Birthday BMW Driving Academy!!

Here's too forty more years!

Dackel








More info on BMW's Driving Academy courses can be found here...

www.bmw-drivingexperience.com/en.html





Katarina Witt
Alex Zanardi
Lena Gercke (super model and BMW's new brand ambassador)



BMW put together a nice video of our day at Maisach and later at Oktoberfest...









The following photos are from BMW's press dept who had a team of photographers at the driving event!
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      09-26-2017, 08:33 PM   #2
Dackelone
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      09-26-2017, 08:44 PM   #3
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=kmBlCRVjeSI
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      09-26-2017, 08:46 PM   #4
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What began in 1977 as a small two-day driver’s training with 15 participants, now last year alone BMW have trained over 100,000 car drivers worldwide. In over 30 countries, beginner drivers and professionals...


From this humble beginnings...
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      09-27-2017, 06:49 AM   #5
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And some of my own photos from this awesome day!Name:  20170919_104009.jpg
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      09-27-2017, 07:19 AM   #6
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...

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The End.
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      09-27-2017, 10:54 AM   #7
Mani59
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WOW! Looks like an amazing day!!! Very lucky!!
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Visit my (mainly) BMW gallery http://jetone.co.uk and my WIP BMW Scale Miniatures Model gallery https://bmwminiatures.co.uk/
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      09-27-2017, 11:58 AM   #8
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That was an awesome day.
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      09-27-2017, 01:17 PM   #9
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I happened to be there the past 2 days taking my 3rd BMW Driving Experience Event, Intensive Security Training for Professionals and took the following photos:
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2021 F95 ZCP PCD- 2022 G83 (awaiting allocation)
Retired:2018 F85 PCD,2018 F83 ZCP- ED/PCD, 2015 X5 50i PCD, 2015 435 vert ED, 2011 X3 PCD, 2011 335is vert ED/PCD, 2007 X3is PCD, 2007 335i vert PCD, 2004 328i vert PCD
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      09-27-2017, 01:19 PM   #10
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Some more:
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2021 F95 ZCP PCD- 2022 G83 (awaiting allocation)
Retired:2018 F85 PCD,2018 F83 ZCP- ED/PCD, 2015 X5 50i PCD, 2015 435 vert ED, 2011 X3 PCD, 2011 335is vert ED/PCD, 2007 X3is PCD, 2007 335i vert PCD, 2004 328i vert PCD
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      09-27-2017, 01:25 PM   #11
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Last bunch, the BMW M4 Ice Racer is posted under my ED trip.
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2021 F95 ZCP PCD- 2022 G83 (awaiting allocation)
Retired:2018 F85 PCD,2018 F83 ZCP- ED/PCD, 2015 X5 50i PCD, 2015 435 vert ED, 2011 X3 PCD, 2011 335is vert ED/PCD, 2007 X3is PCD, 2007 335i vert PCD, 2004 328i vert PCD
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      09-27-2017, 01:45 PM   #12
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Wow what a day! I'm so jealous
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      09-27-2017, 02:02 PM   #13
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Awesome. I was at a CCA event on Sunday and saw an M3 in Dakar Yellow.... love the E36. Great shots. Looks like a fun time with some great drivers and amazing cars. Quite the invite!
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      09-27-2017, 03:56 PM   #14
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Forgive me Dackel...

You lucky bastard!
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      09-27-2017, 04:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracus View Post
Forgive me Dackel...

You lucky bastard!
Yup!
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      09-27-2017, 07:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Yup!
I went to few special events like this (I am lying, I mean nothing like this) and they are unforgettable; I can only imagine how special this one was.
I am not jealous, I just wish that could be there as well. Good for you, it seems that you had a blast! thank you for the pictures, they are wonderful!
After that "Night at the Museum" you come with this one... Still, one lucky bastard!
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      09-27-2017, 08:56 PM   #17
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OMG Alex Zanardi what a Legend, I would have been just as happy watching Alex Zanardi doing Doughnuts all day.

Thank you for sharing the day with us Dackel
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      09-27-2017, 09:15 PM   #18
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Very cool! Thanks for sharing!
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      09-27-2017, 11:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibiza View Post
Last bunch, the BMW M4 Ice Racer is posted under my ED trip.
Funny my User ID is ibiza21
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FONT="Book Antiqua"]R. Patel[/FONT] 2016 Alpine white with Sakhir Orange M4 coupe.
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      09-28-2017, 07:34 AM   #20
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Great write up Dack! The pictures of the can toss/knockdown are great! What an amazing day this must have been!
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      09-28-2017, 12:57 PM   #21
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great pics,
thanks for sharing,
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      09-29-2017, 01:00 PM   #22
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Well, all that new tech looks cool,but, damn, that E36 is the only car catching my eye.
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