BMW is touring the United States again with the Ultimate Driving Experience Tour. The tour makes stop in different cities throughout the U.S. and I was lucky enough to be in the same city as the Ultimate Driving Experience Tour. So far I was lucky enough to enjoy this amazing experience twice before. One time in Seattle and the other time in San Francisco.
This time fate brought us both to Miami at the same time. First I didn’t even realize that our schedules will overlap. I remembered briefly that BMW will bring the Ultimate Driving Experience to Miami and I double checked the dates. Sure enough, I will have a weekend off and can go and drive some BMW’s.
The most fun of this roadshow is the autocross. This year you get to drive the all-new BMW 330i around a short track set up in the parking lot of the Hard Rock Stadium. You get to burn tires and brakes for free while getting trained by professional race drivers and instructors. Right away I went to their website to secure a spot for the Autocross session during the weekend. The last available spot was Saturday at 4 p.m. according to their online calendar. I immediately signed up. A few hours later I got a disappointing email. I was added to the waitlist. How can that be, if there was one spot still open? After a quick check of the website, the same spot was still open and it was a glitch in their computer system.
Ultimate Driving Experience Day
I finished work early in the afternoon on Saturday and showed up ahead of time to get checked in. I explained the situation, but never the less I was still on the waitlist. Once checked in at the counter, they send me a confirmation email which contained a link to check my position on the waitlist. I was number 18 on the list but for some reason, many of the people who originally signed up were no shows and I was able to get a spot for the Autocross session this afternoon. I received the text message with the good news, right while setting up to take photos of the X7 driving over the offroad-parkour.
I got the pictures I wanted and headed straight back to the check-in counter. I received a new badge and was sent to the classroom inside the nearby tent. In here you get told the basics how a car handles on a road and a little bit about the physics behind it. The teacher did a really good job of showcasing what he was talking about. I remembered the same class was held during one of my other visits to the Ultimate Driving Experience years ago.
After the class, we got split into different groups, which were written on the back of our badge. I was in group number 2. From here we walked out to the different stations according to our group number. Once at our small tent next to the “racetrack” the instructors gave a brief introduction about themselves and then 3 people hopped into the 330i with an instructor. Every instructor took the people around the track to get a feel for it. First, a slow round to explain the entry and exit points of the different turns and then a fast lap.
Once everyone had done that, it was driving time. The instructor hopped into the front passenger seat and the first guy in my group got to drive for a few laps. After that, we switched and I was next.
Wow, it was so much fun racing along the track. Time just went by like nothing and we already had to switch again. Once everyone had done that, we got to drive only with the instructor in the car, but this time our time was taken to see who is the best. I ended up being the third fastest in my group with 0.12 seconds to the second place and 1,22 seconds to the first place. Of course, we could argue about the accuracy of human vs machine as one of my instructors actually stopped the time for everyone. But that’s not why we are here. We all came here to have fun and that we did. This concluded the Autocross session, which had an overall length of about 1.5 hours. Unfortunately, you only get to drive maybe 10-15 minutes. Then you are either with someone else in the car or sitting outside and waiting for your turn.
The time behind the wheel is pretty short, but when you get to drive, you get the ultimate driving experience. It is just fun doing what you cant do on roadways and all that for free.
Before we headed back to the main event tent, I took a group picture with the instructors of my group. All are professional drivers in some way, but the most famous one in my group was Verena Mei. She is a Chinese-American model and rally car driver. She also had a role in the famous movie franchise “The Fast and the Furious”. Verena had a role in the movie Tokio Drift.
This was it for my first day at the BMW event in Miami. It was 5:30 p.m. and the event closed down early that day, as they had a VIP event that evening.
I came back the next day to get more pictures and enjoy the rest of what is offered here.
BMW brought a whole palette of cars you can take out for a short ride on local roads. The available cars included the all-new X7 as well as an i8 Roadster. Make sure you get there early and sing up for your favorite ride. Their fancy models were always booked up and wait time was long for them. You have to be checked in with a valid drivers license to participate in street drives.
BMW set up a nice experience, where you can hop in as a passenger either in an X5 or X7. The car will be driven by a professional driver who will explain some of the amazing features BMW offers in their cars. These driver assistant systems are available in either car but they are showcasing different features in each model.
BMW X5 – When you hop in the X5, the driver will show you how the car can park itself parallel and perpendicular.
BMW X7 – Here they demonstrated the Backup Assistant. No matter where you drive or how you drive, the car will remember the last 180 ft and if you want to, it will reverse automatically up to the last 180 ft. The only thing you have to do is use the brake to slow the car down.
With both SUVs you get to ride over the ramp they have set up. It shows off their xDrive capabilities and how the car handles climbing and descending a steep hill.
In front of the tent, BMW set up a hand full of different car models. You cant drive them but you can sit inside them and a tag next to each car and the motorcycles shows technical details and features. My favorite, the Alpina B7, a luxurious makeover of the 7 series.
Inside the tent was another X7 exhibited beside a BMW race car. The tent had plenty of seats to relax and hang out. Enhanced with a free snack and coffee bar with baristas brewing your favorite coffee.
Photo Gallery of the Ultimate Driving Experience Event in Miami
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.