Now this is a major piece of news for all you luxury car geeks out there. If you’ve always fantasized about spending a day surrounded by your favourite cars – the racing variety, if you will – learning to take on the hairpin bends of a real F1 track, in the company of real race drivers? Here’s the good news – in India, it IS indeed possible to learn to speed, drift and manoeuver a race car thanks to the BMW Certified Driver Training session. The day-long experience is reserved for customers willing to shell out a hefty sum and hence is not for the fainthearted.
Which cars can you look forward to?
The cars in question are from BMW’s M portfolio, so there are enough drool-worthy cars for everyone. Just to give you a bit of a backgrounder about the M cars, the German luxury carmaker launched their “M” (for motorsport) variety of cars way back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, to affirm their racing programme. One thing led to another, BMW’s M cars soon became a brand signature of sorts and quickly attained cult status. Today, BMW’s M cars feature modified engines, suspensions, transmissions and design elements to enhance the racing experience.
Where does it take place?
We did it at the Buddh International Circuit, in Greater Noida. At this F1 circuit, you can truly make the most of the vast sprawl of the track, to learn how to drift, lane change and do timed laps in the company of your instructor. There are different BMW Experiences that take place in different cities across the country so you might want to check the schedules on BMW’s India website.
What it’s all about
Basically, the BMW Driver Training session for the M cars is an immersive experience designed by the carmaker to get customers and BMW loyalists to get a first-hand experience of what it’s like to drive one of these beauties. When I say immersive, I’m not talking about a simple drive here – if you sign up for the training, you undergo a strict and thorough training, in the company of a professional race car driver, where you learn to push the car to the limits and manoeuver it like a pro.
What cars will you drive?
Guys, this is serious stuff. And you get what you pay for. The guys at BMW brought out the best cars from their M range. Here are some of the cars that I spotted.
- The BMW M3 Sedan, with its instantly recognisable double slats on the grille and its unmistakable M emblem.
- The BMW M4 Coupe, with its distinctive sporty design and extended bonnet.
- The BMW M5 Sedan with its broad track width and capacity to accelerate from 0 to 100/kmph in 4.3 seconds.
- The BMW M6 Gran Coupe with its uber-luxe appearance and gamut of high-performance features.
- The BMW X5 M which combines the philosophy of a traditional M sports car with the functionality of an X model.
- The BMW X6 M with its 8-speed M Steptronic transmission.
What you need to know
Before you start the day, you will undergo a detailed safety briefing, where you will be introduced to the technical aspects of the car and the different techniques that you will be required to use during the day. The briefing is a very thorough one and is done in an interactive format, without too much jargon. Top safety measures are put into place, given the high speeds one is at, including helmets and seat belts for every passenger and constant communication with the instructors through a walkie talkie.
How the day pans out
Following the briefing, you will be divided into groups, coupled with another driver, with whom you will alternate during all the sessions planned.
Here’s how my day panned out, in order of sequence.
- High-speed lane change
- Paced laps (led by the instructor)
- Paced laps (led by participants)
- Time Bend Competition
- A series of Taxi Laps
What happens at the end of it all
Well, you do get a certification after having participated in the Driver Training. And, of course, the unforgettable, exhilarating experience, of sitting IN the cockpit of these gorgeous sports cars, learning how to push them to the limits of performance.
How much does it cost?
This whole day-long experience costs INR 60,000 per person. And you can register on BMW India’s website.
Luxury consumers in India are constantly looking for new, immersive experiences with brands that they consume. That said, this BMW Experience is worth every penny for those with the means and interest to shell out. Most importantly, it is a great way for the carmaker to engage with its already existing customers and give them an enhanced brand experience. I see these ancillary brand experiences as a huge trend from luxury brands in the coming years.
Experienced by Riaan Jacob George
Photography By http://chiraggalundia.blogspot.in