My First BMW Ultimate Driving Experience: Entertainment, Autocross & Relay Racing
This summer BMW launched the Ultimate Driving Experience, a nationwide tour that offers dynamic behind-the-wheel driving programs through eight major events in seven markets for a total of 74 event days. The Chicago, IL event began at Arlington International Racecourse on July 26th and runs through August 3rd.
Bill Jacobs BMW offered an exclusive Autocross experience to customers on Monday, July 28th as well as Wednesday, July 30th.
Guests are greeted by BMW staff and relax in a luxurious room with catered snacks, coffee, and cucumber water.
The real attention grabber is the 2015 BMW i8 model on display. One attendee was so excited when he saw the car that he could not refrain from laughing out loud.
After enjoying the ambiance, all guests headed to the dome; a blown up presentation center showing the techniques and safety precautions needed to be able to drive in the program.
The 2 hour closed-course driving program featured the BMW 2 Series and 5 Series, teaming up the attendees with BMW’s Professional Driving Instructors for a dynamic experience highlighting advanced driving theories, defensive driving techniques, ending in a pulse-pounding hot lap and group relay races.
If you have never driven a BMW, let alone the BMW 2 Series Coupe M Sport, you may be a little apprehensive before getting behind the wheel. Rafael, the BMW Pro instructor I was paired with, immediately changed the mood by teaching my group how the BMW 2 Series is supposed to be handled, including how to adjust the seat correctly, hold the wheel like a race car driver and most importantly, how to only focus on what’s in front of you.
The pro takes you through the course to explain the purpose behind each cone, and then does a hot lap to show you how it’s really done. The goal is to make it through the course as quickly as possibly without knocking down or even dragging any cones, while burning some rubber at each turn.
Since I was the only lady in my group, I went first. I drove through the course at normal speed, listening to the instructor’s commands at each cone. The second time around, I went as quickly as possible, and surprisingly I didn’t knock down any cones, or go off course. For some reason I had an intense look on my face before I needed to brake at the turn, but once he started yelling, “Go go go,” I could not stop smiling. I haven’t had this much fun driving since I was a kid at a go-kart track, especially since I’m accustomed to sitting in traffic and obeying the rules of the road.
After each attendee did one hot lap, we were separated into 2 groups for a relay race in which each driver did one hot lap, had to stop within the four cones at the end, and get out and walk briskly to tag the next driver. Seconds are added to the overall time if you don’t stop in the four cones, if you hit a cone, or if you run to or from the car when it’s your turn.
Luckily, no one in either group hit any cones or had any penalties, and my team won by a few seconds! The best part was that I didn’t have the worst time on my team, and all of the other members drive a BMW on a daily basis.
Check out my ultimate test drive video from my day at the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience. #DrivingIsBelieving