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BMW Driver Training

A Class of its Own
BMW Driver Training

While most of the Western World are enjoying their breakfast over easy or sunny side up, these Germans are flat out and totally sideways. How do I like my eggs? Preferably not lodged in my throat while I cling for dear life in a balanced four-wheel drift.

June 1, 2004, 7:34am: Welcome to Munich: the Mecca of motoring. Or if you prefer the more corporate term, the BMW Driver Training. You wanna talk about hard core? The guy at the internet café in Munich airport just summed it up for me about an hour and half before. “Who won the German Grand Prix,” I asked. “Michael Schumacher, of course,” he said without lifting his head from his newspaper. “Who came second and third,” I continued. “Who cares,” he said, as he sipped his coffee and turned the page over.

This is a culture where driving is taken a lot more seriously than in most places on earth. Seven time world champion. ‘Nuff said. It is inside these cold steel chained fences where young drivers are nurtured through their formative years and where the passionate come from near and far to sharpen their skills and extract the most out of themselves and their vehicles. Put simply, it is where the bond between man and machine is compressed; a venue where you can learn the art of sheer driving pleasure.

Kookie Ramirez and I had driven about ten hours through the night from Paris for this. Starved of sleep, we arrived at the airport facility three hours too early like two groupies of a mega rock band just to make sure we didn’t miss this opportunity. This is no ordinary driving class; the BMW driver training is a world renowned and highly respected program that has been conducting high performance classes for enthusiasts since 1977. This specially designed and dedicated facility at Munich airport that we were training in was completed in 1997 to accommodate the growing demand for the specialized program. A seemingly basic layout, the bare asphalt track conceals pop up sprinklers and some high tech timing devices. Each instructor takes charge of a maximum of ten students at any one time and carries a hand-held remote device to control the amount of rainfall they would like to simulate.

Prices range from €145 - €1,730. The more expensive ‘perfection’ or ‘fascination’ programs make use of some of the worlds finest racing circuits like the Nurburgring, not to mention some of the finest cars like the M3. We were booked in for the advanced driver training course which costs €395. The basic outline of this course includes the theory of road-vehicle dynamics; the effects of under and over steer in realistic road conditions and to learn how to ensure road safety when these effects occur; advanced braking and steering control; emergency lane changing as well as scientifically proven effective seating and driving positions. Obviously I’m over simplifying it for you. The price may seem steep but includes the full use of a BMW 330i for all the practical driving exercises, insurance and (in our case) a couple of fresh sets of Michelins.

The instructors are all experts in their disciplines; including test drivers, safety specialists, leading motor sport personalities and engineers from technical and development departments. Our instructor, Dieter, was a 6’5 German policeman and a Special Forces rescue worker. According to him, to be a BMW Driver Training instructor is more than a job, it is a calling. The courses are the product of the experience gained from many decades of BMW’s involvement in motor sport, which has been systematically applied to the day-to-day road situation: When you learn from people whose very lives depend on their driving skill, those words carry a lot more weight, so you tend to spend a lot more time listening. Worldwide, more than 17,000 people every year attend more than 1,000 events.

Kookie and I were each thrown the keys of two gleaming blue 330i six speed manual test cars. After a series of high speed lane changing exercises, we were off to the wet skid pad where we were taught the advanced dynamics of over steer. It didn’t matter if you did it your way, or their way as long as you kept it sideways. I was able to hold it for one and a half turns around the skid pad. Our instructor was able to hold it for as long as I needed to run over to our car, pull my camera bag out, set up, and then take a picture – all while he was sending a text message to his wife.

Considering that we were given a private class, with one car each, we had some extra time to spare which was used to teach us reverse 180 turns and a short slalom course. Normally, there are two students assigned to a car. All instructions are given over a one way radio and your progress is monitored by your instructor from pre determined, strategic vantage points. Have I become a better driver from it all? Well, that might be presumptuous for me to say, but I believe it’s something I’m less likely to find out by accident.

This is something I would recommend to anyone that wants to get the most out of themselves and their machine – regardless of which brand you drive. It teaches confidence, safety, advanced techniques and improves the whole driving experience for yourself and other road users. As they like to say out here: “Supreme driving confidence comes from within.”

Classes are limited and bookings are essential. You can contact BMW Philippines on information@bmw.com.ph for more details on availability.


Back to school
Back to school
Airport Facility
Airport Facility
And then the real mini cars...
And then the real mini cars...
Beginners use a 316i compact
Beginners use a 316i compact
What a lovely sight. I think I'll take the blue one. No, no, the other blue one.
What a lovely sight. I think I'll take the blue one. No, no, the other blue one.
Even Chauffeurs are given defensive driver training in 7 series BMWs
Even Chauffeurs are given defensive driver training in 7 series BMWs
Then there's the riding academy
Then there's the riding academy
BMW rider training
BMW rider training
Motorcycle training is vital in Germany where riders frequently hit speeds of over 200km/h on the autobahns.
Motorcycle training is vital in Germany where riders frequently hit speeds of over 200km/h on the autobahns.
A large skidpad is used to understand the basics of oversteer and understeer
A large skidpad is used to understand the basics of oversteer and understeer
Strike a pose
Strike a pose
Prices range from €145 - €1,730.
Prices range from €145 - €1,730.