I was fortunate enough to receive an email from BMW Monrovia to participate at the BMW M Track Days at The Thermal Club in Thermal, CA. I registered as soon as we got the email! It was a half day/4 hours of driving the BMW M models at their amazing facilities and tracks. I am by no means a car expert, but I wanted to share with you our experience from this event.
We started the day by driving out toward Cabazon because we wanted to do some shopping at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets, and get some food and gas. The city of Thermal was 48 miles even further from the outlets, out by Indio and Coachella. With the distance, I am glad we chose the 12:00 p.m. session. The other option would have been at 8:00 a.m.!
When we arrived at the gate, the staff member guided us to the part where everyone was parking. I saw all of the BMWs parked there, ready for our driving sessions. It was so exciting! We all signed in at the front desk, received colored wristbands and sat in the waiting area in anticipation of the event. While we waited, we got to eat snacks, drink coffee and water, and watch car videos made by BMW.
After a welcome message and a few safety instructions and driving techniques, we were ready to go! We split into four different groups based on the color of our wristbands so that each group can try out the four different courses during the BMW M Track Days event. The instructors did not stay in the car with us, but guided us during each course using a radio. The courses were as follows:
- Drag Races - We each took turns testing out the capabilities of the different vehicles as we raced from start to finish. It took a lot of practice to learn to stop in the exact spot they teach you to stop at. So exhilarating!
- Timed Auto Cross - This course taught us to navigate through the track and to get faster with each lap we did. My fastest time was about 35 seconds but there were other drivers that completed the course in 28 seconds!
- Lead and Follow Lapping Exercises - There were two courses, one of which had more hills than the other. In these last two exercises, the tracks were much longer than in the first two. We also had to wear driving helmets the entire time! The instructors split us into smaller groups to guide few cars at a time throughout the entire track. This course tested us on how we can navigate challenging corners and maintain a consistent speed. It was easy to fall behind but then again, these cars are very capable of accelerating quickly!
At the end, we got to sit inside the car with an instructor as they showed off their amazing driving skills on the course! It was intense and you can see the video here. It was 3 minutes of the instructor taking us along the track. The track was windy but the instructor skillfully drove around each corner with speed and efficiency. This was such a great way to end our driving lessons today throughout the four courses!
The day ended with a free meal and some giveaways. Those that drove the fastest on the Timed Auto Cross received a BMW keychain. We all walked away with a tote bag and an awesome BMW Tumbler. We spent the next half hour admiring all the cars we had driven and taking more pictures.
It was a very fantastic event and I can't thank BMW enough for hosting this fun event. I walked away reminiscing and longing to drive one of these cars again. The M2 should probably be my next car, what do you think?