20 Years of BMW Performance Center Driver Training and Experiences

20 Years of BMW Performance Center Driver Training and Experiences

15.08.2019: The 2.3-mile track has hosted over 250,000 students and visitors. Over 23,000 new vehicles delivered via Performance Center Delivery Experience.

    The 2.3-mile track has hosted over 250,000 students and visitors.

    Over 23,000 new vehicles delivered via Performance Center Delivery Experience.

    BMW Performance Center West with 4.5-miles of track added in 2014.


Today, the BMW Performance Center is excited to announce that 2019 marks their 20th Anniversary.  It’s been a fantastic 20 years, filled with growth and passion fueled by The Ultimate Driving Machine®.


The BMW Performance Center recently repaved the 2.3 miles of track in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in preparation for another 20 years, and as the old pavement was torn up and removed, it was hard not to reminisce about how many laps had been put down on that asphalt. Each layer of rubber represents a customer’s unique experience. From the Performance Center’s educational teen schools to their fast-paced and beloved M Schools, customers have driven more than 2,700 brand-new BMWs on the track and have burned through more than 50,000 tires.


The BMW Performance Center’s 137-acre facility has been in operation nearly 365 days a year, holding schools, experiences, events and corporate groups ranging from 6 to 600 people. It has hosted, entertained and taught nearly 250,000 participants the passion behind The Ultimate Driving Machine®.

With the success of the original facility in the Upstate of South Carolina, the Performance Center has been able to expand operations and open the BMW Performance Center West, near Palm Springs, California.  Featuring beautiful scenery and year-round sun, BMW’s dedicated track space and reception center at the exclusive Thermal Club are not to be missed.


At either location, drivers of all ages, rookie or veteran, can sharpen their skills in a variety of one- and two-day performance driving schools led by highly skilled and experienced instructors who can seriously bring you up to speed.


The Teen School prepares beginning drivers for the challenges of the real world, starting with classroom sessions that review the basics such as where to look, how to hold the steering wheel, and the best way to sit for visibility before moving on to the track.  Students learn car control and develop a feel for the limits of grip when accelerating, turning and braking during skid pad training, emergency lane change and obstacle avoidance exercises.

 We at BMW have long believed that the right driver training is every bit as important as technology in helping to keep drivers safe, and the Teen School gets young drivers ready to respond with confidence and control in all driving situations.

For more experienced drivers, the Driver’s School teaches the basics of car control. Starting in the classroom to go over key concepts, students then take these concepts outside to the track for exercises on the wet skid pad and panic braking.  Then it’s on to the handling course, and finally a timed lap session to bring it all together.  Drivers who choose the two-day school are further challenged with the double lane change and high speed braking exercises as well as the off-road course, where they’ll pilot BMW X vehicles over challenging terrains.


Anyone who knows BMW knows M is the ultimate expression in performance, and the BMW M School is just that.  Created to allow drivers to get the most out of themselves and the cars they drive, BMW M School is about developing skill and technique; learning and understanding the basics of dynamic driving.  Following a brief orientation in the classroom, it’s out to the track.  The morning is devoted to finding the proper line through a corner, learning when to brake and when to accelerate, panic braking, and the difference between slipping and a controlled drift. 

The afternoon is all about putting these newfound skills to the test in the autocross, timed laps, and on the skid pad.  Those who opt for the two-day school build on the skills learned on day one through drift sessions and figure-8s on the wet skid pad, practicing proper vision and finding the fastest driving line, and controlling the car on uneven road surfaces.  At the end of day two, everything learned will be put into full engagement with a single fast lap around the track.


The BMW Performance Center West in Thermal, California plays host to two incredible MINI John Cooper Works driving experiences including the MINI Driving Experience where students explore the limits of the cars and learn important high speed driving skills. For those fans of past films featuring both classic Mini and newer MINI models, there is the MINI Stunt Driving School where students can learn what professionals already know; the MINI excels at performing amazing stunts.


A large portion of the Spartanburg facility is dedicated to dirt, serving as a proving ground for the U.S. Rider Academy and the X vehicles that are produced by BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC, located across the road.


The BMW U.S. Rider Academy was created in 2007 and is the home of BMW Motorrad training in the U.S., offering courses from on-road foundations to advanced enduro off-road skills. Also available are All Women's Off-Road Classes, featuring the same curriculum with added elements specifically for women as recommended by leading female industry influencers and professionals. For an off-site adventure, the Performance Center offers scenic riding tours through the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Picking up your new BMW is always a special occasion, and the BMW Performance Center Delivery experience is the epitome of BMW ownership. New owners and returning clients spend the evening before delivery in a luxurious hotel, and when the day arrives, take a turn on our track in a BMW just like theirs, letting them experience how their Ultimate Driving Machine® handles at the limit. End the event with some one-on-one time with a BMW specialist, who will help them get acclimated to their newest BMW.


Since 1999, the delivery team has executed more than 23,000 personal delivery experiences, totaling more than $1.4 billion worth of vehicles.  Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Baicar were happy to be the Performance Center’s first delivery customers on October 5, 1999, driving away in their new 2000 BMW M Coupe. They have since returned for three more deliveries, in 2001, 2002 and 2017 – a testament to how loyal Performance Center and BMW customers truly are. Some customers simply can’t get enough, with one returning to take delivery of almost 20 vehicles.

In addition to the schools, experiences and deliveries, the Performance Center has also been the host for BMW dealer and international media product launches, such as the all-new BMW X4. Other special events have included the Special Olympics, BMW Charity Pro-Am Celebrity events, Relay for Life, Wounded Warriors, One-Lap of America, Guard Your Life Challenge and the BMW CCA Oktoberfest.


Visit www.bmwperformancecenter.com to learn more about the programs offered at The BMW Performance Center. Join in the celebration of the past 20 years and in welcoming the bright future to come by using #itsablur on social media.

Alex Schmuck- photos BMW

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/20-years-bmw-performance-center-driver-training-experiences---195708.html

15.08.2019 / MaP

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