BMW News

To find out what's so special about a leisurely weekend drive through Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's beautiful Schenley Park, look no farther than this video featuring a 2017 BMW M3 Competition package being nudged around the course by BMW Performance Center top instructor Mike Renner. Yes, the same Mike Renner who won this year's One Lap of America Stock Touring and Luxury Sedan classes in a 2017 BMW M3 Competition Package.

The event was the annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix (PVGP), the country's oldest continuous vintage road race and the only one run on actual city streets. Obviously Renner's drive through the park was a demonstration lap since Mike's M3 was about 40-plus years too new to qualify for the actual vintage races held this past weekend on July 15 and 16.

So here's the lap. Pay particular attention to the course itself, and then wonder why so many owners of great vintage cars would put them on a track with huge stone curbs and streetlights within inches of the racing surface. You don't really have to wonder. They do it because a) they are racers, and b) this is a unique race course and a unique race experience.

Hey, did you see Mike run that stop sign? Perhaps this video needed a split screen showing what was behind Renner's M3, which was probably tire smoke, especially those last few corners.

The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is actually a ten-day immersive automotive experience that kicks off the weekend prior to the Schenley Park races with the Historics at Pitt Race, short for Pittsburgh International Race Complex northwest of the city. The event hosts all types of vintage cars including some of the bigger ones that shy away from Schenley, like Corvettes and Mustangs. There is an exception to the vintage-only rule at the Historics, and that is the run group for BMW CCA Club Racing in which everything from 2002s from the 1960s to present-day race-prepped BMWs help the event give the crowd its money's worth.

In between the Historics and the PVGP in Schenley Park are galas, banquets, car shows, cruises, tours, and parties. If you're a car person, sooner or later you need to spend a week or ten days in Pittsburgh in July for an experience like nowhere else.

In 2018, many hundreds of BMW CCA members will do just that, since Pittsburgh during PVGP week will be the site for Oktoberfest 2018 and BMW will be the featured marque. We can pretty much guarantee that there will be no shortage of activities for car-minded Bimmerphiles, and you can't ask for better hosts than the BMW CCA's Allegheny Chapter.

Another reason to spend some time at the PVGP as a participant or as a spectator is that the funds raised are donated to two very worthwhile area charities that that help provide residential care, treatment, and support of individuals with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities: the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.

Thanks to Mike Renner and BMW for the trip through the park. We're looking forward to next year when BMW and BMW CCA will add even more thrills during PVGP week.—Scott Blazey

[Photos and video courtsy of Marc Caden.]