BMW Driving Experience and Gymkhana: 7 December 2013
A Driving Experience to Remember
Words by Colin van Son
Our final event for the 2013 calendar was, as has been for the last number of years, the ever popular Driver Training and Gymkhana run by BMW Driving Experience.
The very capable and experienced duo of Lucas and Jakes were again on hand from BMW Driving Experience (which was previously BMW Driver Training) to guide the participants and run the day.
We had a number of new faces, including a number of non-BMW drivers. BMW Driving Experience were very accommodating and allowed non-BMW drivers to either use their own vehicle or one of the BMW Driving Experience F30 328i’s to get a taste of what a real car feels like…
Lucas first demonstrated the correct driving position before participants did the first exercise - an emergency lane change left and then right which were done on the very wet skidpan. In order to show the impressiveness of ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) we were given a run up from the very back of the skidpan in order to get up to speeds of over 60km/h before slamming on the brakes at the first cones and turning either left or right to avoid the cone obstacle.
After this, we went onto the more fun bit – the oversteer exercise (otherwise known as drifting). With all driver aids such as DSC turned off, we had to do 3 clockwise loops and then 3 anti-clockwise loops. You stay in first gear at about 3 000 rpm then turn sharply right (for clockwise) or left (for anti-clockwise) and simultaneously floor the accelerator and then try to control the drift. A lot of participants did quite well with this, with many inadvertently throwing in a few tight 360’s, much to the delight of the spectators…
After this we moved onto the timed gymkhana to end the day. Lucas laid out a nice track that saw a few tight slaloms into a U-turn left followed by a U-turn right, into a long oversteer (or drift) into a clockwise 360 handbrake turn and then into the 4 cone garage. If you knock over a cone, you get a 2 second penalty and it you stop short of the garage or overshoot the garage (into the kitchen) you also get a 2 second penalty.
Each driver gets 2 timed runs and the fastest of the 2 run times counts. As has been tradition, the quickest BMW driver gets to keep the impressive floating trophy for a year. The fastest BMW on the day was Marco van der Schyff in his E36 328i who managed a best time of 36.16 seconds. Close behind was David Neale in his Z4 3.0Si with a time of 37.06. Third fastest was Sendhur Govender in his 135i with a time of 38.16.
In the non-BMW class, the quickest time was 36.84 by Paul Roebuck in his Subaru Legacy GT. Michal Kowalik managed 39.18 in his Mercedes C350 and Motusi Tsebela was marginally slower at 39.44 in a Mini JCW Clubman.
Great fun was had by all. A big thank you to Les, Lucas and Jakes from BMW Driving Experience for making this day possible. This was but just a small taster of the fantastic courses they offer. Check out BMWDrivingExperience.co.za for further detail of all of the courses they offer.