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Z4 ineligibility for BMW Driving school

Discussion in 'E89 Z4 (2009-present)' started by here2gear, Sep 10, 2015.

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    I was deeply saddened to find out that the car that I purchased to improve my track skills is not allowed in these schools because it is unsafe. This has caused me to no longer use my Z4 because it is not considered safe by BMW.

    If others are concerned about this please let BMW Car Club US know as I have done.
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    One consideration is that I think it's not just a matter of a national-level club rule or policy, but that the company that insures the club's track schools won't insure the event for the club if convertibles, in stock form, are allowed. None of that means that BMW, as a company, thinks there is anything unsafe about their convertibles. It is a given that convertibles obviously do not offer the same degree of occupant protection in the case of a rollover or any scenario with the car being upside down single or multiple times compared to a vehicle with a roof. I'm hardly up on the specifics of BMW convertible built-in rollover protection, but I recall BMW having some sort of fast-deploying bars or some-such that will extend to provide extra height clearance to hopefully lessen the chance of properly belted/secured occupants from suffering injury in a rollover scenario. One thing's almost for sure - if you have the choice of ending up upside down in a Z4 vs, say, something like a 60's-era Cadillac convertible, it's quite likely you're better off in the BMW - the caddy, you're a human pancake.

    You would have to check and confirm, but I believe convertibles with specified rollover protection may be allowed, but the issue is the required protection means modifying the car by installing an aftermarket rollbar & 5 or 6-pt. race harnesses, and the required rollbar height to provide an acceptable level of protection means you have a bar that in no way can fit under the stock folding top. Obviously that adds some level of inconvenience to using the car - no ability to close the top for rain protection or driving to/from the event, or elsewhere. There are those that do opt for such inconvenience, and typically, are trailering their vehicle to/from track events. But, to comply with club insurance regulations, and to provide adequate rollover protection for you and the volunteer instructor riding shotgun & coaching you for the entire weekend, that's what it takes, generally speaking, for a 'vert to be allowed to run at BMWCCA-run high-speed track events. You could always auto-x your car as-is (auto-x organizers typically do not restrict convertibles due to the lower speeds, although again that doesn't absolutely preclude the possibility of a rollover), but compared to what you learn and the amount of track time you get at driver's schools, there's more to be learned and achieved at a driver's school, at least in my opinion, for furthering one's driving skillset.

    I understand your frustration, it is indeed disappointing to get a car with the thought of track events in mind only to discover after-the-fact it's not allowed. If your attachment to, or reason for choosing the Z4, exceeds the the practical consideration that stock convertibles aren't allowed at 'CCA driving schools, that presents a dilemma - if you really want a car primarily intended for track usage, the logical choice would be to sell the Z4 for something with a roof, perhaps a Z4 M coupe, if you have a yen for the Z4's looks (and aren't so tall that you can't fit into a Z4 coupe with a helmet on). If you have bought a Z4 new, taking a depreciation hit for something else so quickly obviously might be completely impractical - then I'd say enjoy the Z4, and mull over other possibilities for getting to some track events. There may be other clubs or organizations that do allow convertibles in stock form - they (organizationally) & any volunteer instructors, would presumably be a lot more risk-tolerant vs. the 'CCA's insurance company, never mind most of the club's track event organizers & volunteer instructors. Sorry you're feeling to be in a bit of a pickle, hope you do get to the track someday, in something!
    steven s likes this.

    zyalater guest

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    Ran into this at SCCA events. It is not just BMWs. They will accept coverts now,I believe, Also e89s actually do have a metal top as well as the substantial roll bars plus a very strong windshield frame which is attached deep in the frame for that purpose, The car is as safe as any convertible can be. I decided that the car is too nice to track anyhow.
    daveking350z likes this.
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    It isn't really unsafe. It is just that the 3 series owners (they make up the vast majority of club members) got tired of getting handed their ar#ses on the track and finally found a way to get back on top.

    I now attend race events that allow convertibles. One less driver at BMW events :(
    daveking350z likes this.
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    Yes, it is due to insurance companies and lawyers, once again they interfere with our lives.
    If a car has a factor roll bar it is allowed at all track days I have researched, except BMW events.
    daveking350z likes this.

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