When I bought my BMW E92 M3 almost 2 years ago, I discovered that BMW throws manufacturer BMW M Track Days, where you drive the current generation of BMW fleet M cars. In 2016, the M Track Days were free, which means they nearly impossible to book due to being booked up within hours. This year, BMW added a $250 premium, a steal for the chance to thrash factory BMW M cars on the track for hours, but it allowed serious BMW M fans to get the chance to experience BMW M.
This year BMW’s M Track Days are visiting four tracks: Monticello Motor Club, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Circuit of the Americas, The Ridge Motorsports Park, and The Thermal Club. I chose Monitcello Motor Club, due to the closest distance to my home and all I read and see online is it is one of the most beautiful tracks in the country if not the world. Recently, Chris Harris drove the new Acura NSX around Monticello on an episode of Top Gear and the endless /DRIVE features filmed there show its beauty.
From my home in Pennsylvania, it took a little over 4 hours to get to Monticello, New York. When I arrived in instantly felt like I arrived at a country club for cars. When you register they attempt to group you with similar experienced drivers, because you can only go as fast as the “slowest link” when doing lead follow.
Their program is roughly 4 hours long with rotating car activities. My first “activity” was lead follow laps in a BMW M2. All of the cars are spec’d out with various M parts. Some have M Performance Exhausts, some have M Carbon Fiber bits, some have M Performance Alcantara Steering Wheels, among other M bells and whistles.
From the M2 my run group hopped into an M3 to do lead follow laps in. My M3 was equipped with the M Performance Exhaust which meant I was upshifting for the sole purpose of downshifting to hear the crackles and burbles. Sadly, it was a rainy day so no breaking any lap records, but I was fortunate to be in a run group of similarly experienced drivers and we were hitting speeds in excess of 120 mph.
From the M3’s we walked on over to Monticello Motor Club’s go kart track which had been edited to be an autocross course to attempt to set lap times in BMW M4’s. BMW does a country wide search to determine the “Ultimate Driver”. How they determine the Ultimate Driver is simple. They do it by whomever sets the quickest laptime on the autocross course in the M4’s. Top laptimes at every track location the M Track Days take place at get invited to compete to become the Ultimate Driver on BMW’s dime.
The final driving activity of my run group was drag race/stop box BMW M6’s, X5 M’s, and X6 M’s. It was a fun event, you basically drag race your opponent in the other lane to a stop box at the other end and first to stop completely in the stop box wins.
The drag race/stop box was the final activity to drive, but not the final experience. Last item for the day was instructor hot laps. I rode shotgun in a BMW M3 as IMSA driver Connor Bloum drifted the track in the wet.
I was aware that as part of the program that I would be receiving dinner, but the meal rivaled the catering at my wedding. During the dinner every attendee was gifted a bunch of BMW M swag and then we all dispersed. 4 hours back to Pennsylvania I went.