Saturday, September 24, 2005

BMW Fahrer Training

Last weekend I attended an Advanced Driver Training from BMW's Graded Training Program.

It was a day full of Sheer Driving Pleasure :)

The 8 participants were distributed by four E90 330i

After a small but important theory briefing, where we were given some concepts of vehicle dynamics and steering techniques, we drove some X5s to BMW's test facilities near Muchen airport.

We were distributed in groups of two per car and performing the exercises in turns, as a driver and as a passenger. I must tell you, things look much more dramatic as a passenger!

Me getting ready to start an emergency breaking test

We started with a small slalom
course to get the touch and feel of the car followed by a set of emergency breaking exercises to make sure you understand the limits of physics :)

After that, we moved to a set of advanced exercises. This was when the real fun begun ;)

Most of exercises were performed both with and without active systems, so that you could tell the difference. Safe Mode and Fun Mode as we called it :)


In this exercise you were asked to repeatedly cause an understreer situation and then recover from it while driving around an wet roundabout.


This exercise was similar to the
previous one, but in this case you were asked to cause a power oversteer - by applying full throttle in a low gear ;) - let it power slide for a while and then bring it back just *before* the spin.

Emergency Lane change

This was one of the coolest exercises. A simulated emergency lane change at speeds up to 60Km/h.
You were to asked to dodge the red pin and stabilize the car without applying any breaks or throttle.

At first it seamed impossible to make the car pass between the red and blue pins at that speed as you only had less then one meter of slack for both sides and wet road conditions.

Getting the car straight on the emergency lane

Timing is essential and you have to account for understeering when you start to change lanes. For me the tricky part was trying to avoid hitting the red pin with the rear bumper as I was bringing the car back too soon. When I started letting the car go and make use of the full extent of the emergency lane it all went OK.

Getting ready for the timed slalom

After all the exercises we made a small competition. It was another slalom course, but this time against the clock! Each one had one "free" test run followed by five timed runs.

"My" car at the end of the day

I managed to get the 3rd place which is not so bad :)