I am still giddy from this past weekend. I wanted to get behind the wheel of a more heavy-duty “street-like” vehicle to practice my driving skills and guess where I ended up?! The BMW Performance Driving School in South Carolina! It was so much fun. I will show you a video of the one day M-school in a bit, but for now, let’s talk about what this school is all about.
BMW Performance School Experience
Some of you might have read my article called Race Schools Aren’t Just For Racers explaining why I think you should participate in some kind of driving school if you want to enhance your car handling skills. The BMW Performance School is just that. An awesome, adrenaline pushing, BMW driving, road course running, car handling practice school for anyone! I was a little skeptical when I first arrived because, well, I am an Audi gal… not necessarily a BMW gal. For various reasons we can chat about later if you want to debate 😉
Back to the point.
This school definitely gave me a new perspective on BMW’s and how well they handle! We drove a mixture of M2, M3, and M4 cars. They weren’t manual, but they still kicked my butt;) Here’s the low down on what the day looked like.
1st Course Of The Day
So, after a brief introduction of the school and what we were going to do for the day, we headed straight to the cars and started them up.
The first batch of M3’s were ready for action. We drove to the track, even though it was pouring down rain, and prepared for our first-course practice. As you will see in the video, the first course was a shorter version of the full course lap we did at the end of the day. A nice start to get our bones, and minds, in the right mood.
After the first course practice, we switched to the M2’s and ran the cone course. These M2’s were so much fun! Tons of spunk from those cars. The cone course really tested your car handling capabilities, especially since it was still raining. Little S-turns, into a tight right-hander, down the straight into another tight right-hand corner. We practiced this a couple of times before heading to the skid pad.
The Skid Pad
Unfortunately, I was not able to video our skid pad performance. However, it was fun and pushed you & the cars to their limits! We practice over-steering, under-steering, and a little drifting.
Timed Cone Course
After lunch, we went back out for three more practice sessions. This time, everything was timed and we were competing against the clock ( and each other 😉 ). We went back out in the M2’s on the cone course, in the pouring rain. Hey, if you can drive in the rain well, you can drive in the dry even better!
Mini Oval Competition
This might have been the most fun course of the day. We took two cars over to the mini oval track and raced each other. One car started on one side, the other on the opposite side. We tried to catch the other vehicle, while it was still wet. The oval course was all left-hand turns and man, we spun those cars around like crazy! I even tied for 1st place!! Make sure you watch that section until the end to see 🙂
Finally, combining all of our car control skills from the morning and afternoon, we went to the full course for some fun racing. Hitting a little over 100mph on the straight in 4th gear, shifting quickly to 2nd gear before the left hand turn, onto the skid pad, in and out of tons of tight turns and back to the straight. Luckily for us, the rain stopped and the track was able to dry up which meant one thing…. FLAT OUT & FAST!
The backward driving was an added bonus. I feel like I could apply for a stunt driving job after this class! If you want to see that fun trick, watch until the end! The video below shows you what to expect out of the single M-day performance class. However, the BMW Performance Center has all kinds of classes from basic car control to more extreme racing. They even do trips and teach at the Nürburgring for you die-hard F1 fans.
Enjoy the video!
As far as the level of car handling skills you should have before this class, I would say minimum. Of course, it is a good idea to take a car handling class before jumping into something more vigorous, but the instructors at the BMW Performance Center are very patience and love to teach all levels!
If you have any other questions about the BMW Performance Center, feel free to email me or contact them directly. I am just a fan, not an employee or sponsor 😉