Club News

Each year, the BMW CCA’s 68 chapters host more than 80 high-performance driver-education (HPDE) schools at road-racing venues all over the country. These schools provide an opportunity for members to turn high-speed laps around some of the most well known racing facilities in the U.S. while learning valuable driving skills—and more about their cars’ performance capabilities in the process. And our program is so well respected that for the past three years, Bridgestone has used it as a key platform from which to educate enthusiasts about the benefits of their Potenza line of high-performance tires.

Starting in 2015, Bridgestone selected BMW CCA chapter schools at venues around the country, offering financial support as well as tire mounting and balancing—at no charge to Bridgestone drivers—as well as advice and suggestions on tire care and maintenance. They even borrowed equipment from their Indy Car team in order to offer free air-pressure gauge checking and testing!

The 2017 Bridgestone Potenza Tour hop-scotched around the country, supporting schools at Barber Motorsports Park in March, New Jersey Motorsports Park and Watkins Glen in April, and Colorado’s High Plains Raceway in May. August found the Potenza crew at Mid-Ohio, and they finished the season in late September at Virginia International Raceway.

An E30 passing an M4?! Yes—during April’s Bridgestone Potenza Tour at Watkins Glen. (Weston Brainerd image)

Although the Bridgestone Potenza Tour highlighted the entire Potenza line, the emphasis for most enthusiasts was on Bridgestone’s RE-71R, an ultra-high-performance summer tire popular with autocross racers and track-school enthusiasts.

And the best news for BMW CCA members? They’ll be back.

“We’re in the planning and budget stages,” says Bridgestone’s Chris Welty, who has been a familiar figure at Bridgestone events from driving schools to Oktoberfest autocross meets. “But we would be very pleased to be able to repeat with a 2018 Tour.”

Apparently the past three years have been a win-win partnership for Bridgestone and the BMW CCA. “With this being the third year of the tour,” notes Welty, “we have visited a few sites all three years. Drivers at those locations seem to be enjoying Potenza tires at a much larger percentage; I like to think it has to do with our visits and support! Even at sites we’ve only been to twice, we see a larger contingent on Bridgestone tires.”

That sort of loyalty has more to do with the entire support program than with just those round, black gumballs. “One of the services we offer is a quick tech talk during the classroom sessions. As an instructor and driver myself, many of the questions I had for our experts are the same as many other drivers: What is the proper air pressure, what should my alignment settings be, how far should my tire roll over? We would offer advice on tire pressure and how to read your tires for stress and wear.”

Much like the engineers at BMW M GmbH, the Bridgestone crew are passionate about their wares—performance products for performance enthusiasts. “We are very proud of the Potenza line of tires,” says Welty, “and they have a long history with BMW. This tour has been a great partnership with the BMW CCA to help members enjoy their Bridgestone tires after the purchase.”