- Programme to drive and experience a range of BMW M products
- Half day sessions available on a range of race circuits
- But is it worth it? Parkers was invited along to find out
What is it?
This programme allows customers to drive and experience a range of BMW M products on a chosen race circuit.
To celebrate 40 years of BMW offering driving experience days for customers, Parkers was invited along to the M Driving Experience at Oulton Park in Cheshire to see what was on offer.
How much is it?
This particular M Driving day costs £600 - at the time of writing - for a half-day session.
Where can you do it?
Over a selection of racing circuits around the country, including Brands Hatch and Oulton Park.
Who can do it?
Anyone who holds a full valid driving licence and is at least 25 years of age. The experience is made available to BMW customers, although not exclusively for them.
The event is structured with a range of activities throughout the half day:
- BMW M wet handling circuit
With a wet handling circuit constructed out of road cones, this exercise tests your skills on a low friction surface in a BMW M3 Competition Package.
This is a more light-hearted activity, with little tuition and a degree of competition introduced as an instructor sits beside you with a stopwatch - timing the fastest lap over three attempts.
- MSV M4 track tuition
With a race-prepared MSV BMW M4 and an instructor sat alongside, this introduces you to the basic techniques required to reduce lap times on the track. These cars come fitted with Racelogic video and telemetry equipment, recording your lap data for analysis back in the pit lane.
After an initial session on track, you are brought in for a brief analysis of your driving style; where you can discuss with an advisor the areas you can improve on, helping to reduce your lap time.
This enables critiquing of your driving skills and how you can better your technique before heading out for a second session.
- BMW M Division range on-track
With an instructor sat beside you to guide you around the track, this brief session introduces you to the M car range with a couple of laps in a BMW M2, M4 Competition Package and M6.
Each of these cars will feel different on track compared to being on a public road, so it will be difficult to gauge what these would be like as an ownership proposition. This hop-in-hop-out session, however, demonstrates how each of the cars differs as they progress in size and engine power.
- Hot laps in a race-prepared M235i
A passenger ride with racing driver Paul O’Neill demonstrates how a professional navigates the track in a race-prepared BMW M235i.
It doesn’t take long to realise how sedate and refined a road car is in comparison, with O’Neill attacking each corner to bring a full-on experience.
What do you get from it?
Some of us might contemplate why driver training is a worthwhile activity; especially as someone who has little interest in motorsport at all, or never plans to invest any time on a race circuit.
With experience days like this, customers have the chance to discover what the product they’ve purchased is capable of.
For others, it’s also the opportunity to experience what happens when a car is pushed out of its comfort zone, exposing drivers to the potential behaviour of a BMW in hazardous wet weather conditions.
If you’d prefer to venture off-road in an X5 SUV or experience the electric range – including the i3 and i8 – the BMW Range Experience is available as an alternative. But the number of programmes available is limited.
The Parkers Verdict
The BMW M Driving Experience may not appeal to those who regularly attend track days, but you do get to sample a wide range of cars structured into the half-day. There may be more affordable supercar experiences out there, but this certainly feels more involving with more time spent behind the wheel and a degree of tuition included.
Unfortunately for those wanting more track time, there isn’t much choice beyond this experience. The chance for drivers to develop their track skills through a range of stages is notably absent.
Rating (out of five):