I had the distinct pleasure of attending a car lover’s dream event, BMW’s M Track Days. What makes this event so special? BMW brings their, M 235, M3, M4, M5, M6, M6 Gran Coupé, and X6M, some of their top instructors from their BMW Performance Driving School, top M designer from Munich, Germany, to a track and invites you to drive their iconic street/track cars as hard as you can. Yes, a dream come true. Not to mention, I am a huge car guy and automotive photographer so what could be better!
The day started early at Road Atlanta. I arrived to see a row of M5s and M3s. There were M6s warming up and an X6M carting the instructors around as they set things up. The more I walked around, the more I knew that this day was going to be one for the history books.
During the driver’s briefing, we found out what they had in store for us. We would be separated into four groups going to either the autocross, drag race, or the race track for a couple of laps behind one of their instructors. The day would end with a hot lap with one of their instructors around the track. We were also told that the M5, M6, and X6M have the competition package which adds some goodies and bumps the already potent twin turbo V8 to 575 HP.
Behind the wheel, BMW M cars live up to the “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan. These cars are nothing short of amazing. They make it extremely easy to drive them hard. To take a car that you can drive to the grocery store on your way back from a track in comfort and style is impressive. It is easy to understand how these cars have such a cult following. We drove these cards hard (so we thought), and these cars demanded more without breaking a sweat. Just when you thought you were having fun, then came the hot lap. OMG!!! The M3 plus an instructor/pro driver minus stability and traction controls equals trails of smoke while drifting around corners.
Unfortunately the day was fast pace and I could not carry my camera along for the rides. After the morning session, (there was another full session after ours in the afternoon) the good guys at BMW encouraged me to shoot from the flagging station right over the track resulting in BMW M machines coming at and under me around a sweeping curve at 90+ MPH. My advice to you, if you are ever invited to one of these events, take the day off from work and go. If you cannot get the day off, quit your job and go anyway…..