BMW Driving Experience & Bridgestone – Driver Training and Gymkhana
7 December 2014
Pirouetting Bavarian Style
By Colin van Son
Our final event for the 2014 calendar was, as has been the case for a number of years, was the ever popular Driver Training and Gymkhana run by BMW Driving Experience and sponsored by Bridgestone.
The very capable and experienced duo of Lucas and Jakes were again on hand from BMW Driving Experience to guide the participants and run the day.
There were a number of new faces, both BMW and 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 or right and then oversteer (aka drifting) practice on the other side of 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 up to 80km/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 – a dedicated oversteer exercise. With all driver aids such as DSC turned off, we had to do two clockwise loops and then two 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 the participants did quite well with this, with many throwing in a few inadvertent 360’s, much to the delight of the spectators…
After this we moved onto the traditionally timed gymkhana to end the day. Lucas laid out a nice and simple track that basically practiced the earlier exercise. Starting on the left apron of the skidpan you head to the left side of the skidpan, turn left to do an anti-clockwise 360 followed by a clockwise large diameter 360 into another anti-clockwise 360 before speeding to the four cone garage a few metres from the apron of the skidpan. If you knock over a cone, you get a two second penalty and it you stop short of the garage or overshoot the garage (into the kitchen) you also get a two second penalty.
Each driver got two timed runs and the fastest of the two run times counted. As has been tradition, the quickest BMW Car Club BMW driver gets to keep the impressive floating trophy for a year. The fastest BMW on the day was defending champion Marco van der Schyff in his E36 328i who managed a best time of 29.71 seconds. Close behind was Colin van Son in his E23 745i with a time of 30.92 seconds. Third fastest was Shantelle van der Schyff in her E36 328i with a time of 31.39 seconds. Some interesting info, the top three BMW’s were shod with Bridgestone tyres.
In the non-BMW class, the quickest time was 31.13 seconds by Tiaan de Klerk in his Subaru STI, again shod with Bridgestone tyres.
A fun day was had by all. A big thank you to BMW Driving Experience and Bridgestone for making the day possible and this was but just a small taster of the fantastic courses they offer. So please check out www.BMWDrivingExperience.co.za for further information and a list of all of the courses they offer.