My desire to attend driving school began long before BMW ownership. The fuse was lit when I made my first trip to Road America. It wasn’t until 2010, when I got my first BMW, that it all started over again. I spent hours poring over forums learning more about the car and discovered the BMW Performance Center. This summer I received a Roundel
Weekly email advertising available spots in a BMW CCA-sponsored two-day M School. All my dreams of driving on a track came rushing back, and I decided to make the call! I never expected my first trip would be an M School, but with my wife’s encouragement, I took the leap and booked the trip to South Carolina. Little did I know the entire experience—from being delivered from the airport in a 535i GT to our hotel where we received outstanding food and drink with every meal—was about to exceed my expectations before we even got to the track.
I knew I was going to have a blast but never imagined to be comfortable pushing the cars as hard as we did. The instructors have a real knack for inspiring confidence in everyone's abilities and knowing when to push each person a little further. I started out thinking everything was too complex and the next thing I knew, I was carrying more speed through each corner. The rush is amazing.
On Day 1, we learned heel-and-toe down shifting in the 1M Coupé, large skid pad exercises in the F10 M5, and corner entry/exit drills in the M3. In the afternoon, we put everything together for timed auto cross runs in the M3, timed laps in the M5, and a fun competition in the 1M on the small skid pad. We left wondering what would possibly be in store for us the next day.
Day 2 began with figure eights on the skid pad in the M3, high-speed corner drills in the M5, and a challenging technical section in the 1M. The instructors convinced us that once we put all of the sections together, we would be comfortable with extreme hot lapping after lunch. With helpful coaching for braking later, carrying more speed through the corners and easing onto the gas smoother we all improved over the weekend.
Every minute spent in the M3 and M5 on the large course was a complete thrill. I thought it couldn't get much more fun than the 560hp of the M5. Then, I stepped into the M3 and experienced more confidence with every lap to push just a little harder.
If the thought of a BMW driving school has ever crossed your mind it is worth every penny. Within a safe and controlled environment, the instructors and fellow BMW enthusiasts combine to create an amazing experience. The only thing I'm left wanting is to do it again soon. —Mitch Smith