First and foremost, CTMP is the home of motorsports in Canada; BMW, a brand, is known predominately for it’s motor-sports. So why then, is the self-proclaimed largest gathering of M Performance in Canada showcasing a distinct lack of motorsports?
That being said, I’m incredibly grateful for BMW Team RLL for all they’ve done for the brand in USA and Canada, and the line up of display pieces is stunning, but why is there nothing more than just a static display. It is a well known fact that the Z4 GTLM, pictured, is well capable of doing demo laps and especially so with the capable hands of Tom Blomqvist and Jesse Krohn who were otherwise indisposed doing lapping in the M5. It’s not hard to find videos of the car taking VIPs for laps around Sebring and Long Beach.
Moreover, as a “festival” it severely pales in comparison to what is presented at the Nurburgring, although understandably they do have a lot more functional display assets on their hands. Just look at these promotional materials and don’t tell me you’re not going into this expecting something along the lines of “experiencing motorsport.”
I get that it might not be easy to get any of the old DTM cars across an ocean, but I know for a fact that BMW USA has a F1 GTR on hand somewhere on this continent. Heck, some of the promotional videos showcased Bruno Spengler’s BMW Bank DTM car - even having him be here for a meet and greet would have made the experience a lot more worthwhile, especially since he’s between races. Speaking of, the DTM weekend at the Norisring as a whole would have done a motorsport fan more than this M Festival. Not only did they get the DTM series actually racing, but BMW also had a M1 ProCar revival with a small grid of flame spitting beasts on track. What did we get? One car. Sitting in a tent.
The rest of the entertainment was subpar at best. Typical manufacturer dealer demos on the part of automotive and Motorrad, some kids play stuff, simulation racing on the part of Forza, and Serena Ryder playing for what might have been an empty stage. Core experiences included an autocross in the lower ranges, a wet skid pad for M4 drifting, drag racing the m850is, and offroading in what I think is an X5.
I can’t speak on the spectator turnout since we were in a severe thunderstorm watch and there were periods of torrential downpour, so I can only assume that had a negative effect on attendance. But even getting through the gates to CTMP took the better part of an hour, with queues running all the way down the side roads and people missing their prepaid and booked driving experiences. Coming out of this event as a motorsport fan, I’m blessed to have been able to see these cars, race on this track, in full anger. A lot of the people attending this have not. I can only hope that corporate does decide to come back next year, just as big but a lot better.