We posted up free BMW event a few weeks ago for the BMW Ultimate Experience and by signing up we got to drive a brand new G30 540i, both xDrive & RWD models, on the autocross course. This was also a timed autocross competition where the fastest drivers in each city will win an all expense paid trip to Thermal, CA to the BMW Performance Center where they’ll compete for the top spot as the fastest driver from the program. Pretty sweet deal right? Well we signed up for the May 13 date and I took a lot of pictures to show you how the day went.
The event took place at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. BMW rented out a huge portion of the parking lots. We parked in the BMW Owners area and headed to registration.
We confirmed our registration and received a cool little lanyard with a hard card badge.
Out in the front was a huge activation with a specific selection of BMW vehicle line ups including a pretty cool M740i. Sorry BMW, I had to put this car on the pedestal instead.
The portable tent construction was pretty amazing itself. Studio lighting rack, wood floors and super cold air conditioning. The portable bathrooms were also “luxury” style with no toilet seat covers because there was someone dedicated to constantly clean the bathrooms.
BMW always knows how to keep the girlfriend happy.
They had this cool VR setup on a bike. They seem to be pushing bikes more and more now. Introducing, the BMW ecosystem.
Here is a leader board wall with the fastest lap times from Los Angeles.
BMW ecosystem. Buy BMW everything. Including this bike!
A wall dedicated to some BMW accessories including small die cast models and wallets.
This is pretty cool. They brought the G30 they used to film The Escape. Watch the video if you haven’t.
Before our 11 AM start time they brought us to a meeting room, similar to what they do at the BMW Performance Center, for a proper instructional briefing. A professional instructor came out to go over the basics of car control. It’s not your basic brake pedal on the left and gas on the right as they would at your local go-cart track, but it was technical and warming instructional session. Although it was still a watered down explanation of car control (to me) it was pretty technical for the general public. They went over how weight transfer works during braking and accelerating, oversteer/understeer concept, track vision…things like that.
Now to the course! We exited the building and our track instructors were waiting for us with the G30 to shuttle us to the track.
We were assigned to track 2. There were a total of 6 tracks and 1 of those were dedicated to the final showdown.
Our instructors introduced themselves with a short career summary. We had 3 instructors. One was racing in 24 Hours of Le Mans in a few months, one was a former NASCAR driver, and the last one was an Indy Car champion? Not sure, he just flashed his ring at us during his intro and walked away.
There were cold waters for us in this “custom” cooler. BMW everything.
First the instructor drove us around the course. They showed us the proper driving line, braking point, and acceleration zones. Then they did a hot lap. The 540i packs 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft torque with a turbocharged inline-six engine. Thanks to the 8-speed gearbox and xDrive, it feels a lot faster than you think.
Here is a little video of the course.
BMW G30 540i autocross. pic.twitter.com/brskaDMRIO
— buildjournal (@buildjournal) May 16, 2017
You get 1 warm up run, 1 practice hot lap, and 1 timed lap. The winner of each track goes to track 1 for the final battle.
Oscar actually took home the track 2 overall win and got this cool little prize.
Oscar headed to track 1 where all the other finalists went on to battle it out for the top spot. This track was a little different because instead of crossing the finish line, you had to come to a complete stop in the braking zone. It doesn’t matter if you had a fast lap, if you don’t optimize your braking point, your lap is done.
Oscar put it a pretty fast lap, but ended up coming in 2nd. Still not bad eh?
Like all other BMW events, this was very well put together by the BMW NA folks. A great way to promote the G30 and a clever way to promote the M series. I’m sure they’ll be getting some good PR traction with the final winners from each city. We look forward to the results of the BMW Performance Center contest, and to all other future BMW events to come!