Review: BMW Performance Center West Driving School – Two-Day Car Control Clinic

Fasten Your Seatbelts, Class is Now in Session

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Throughout the day, instructors repeat one bit of advice that I’ve heard before at BMW and other driving schools: “Look in the direction you want to head.” Sounds simple but it turns out that most drivers look more in the direction where they shouldn’t be going (such as the rear of the car they should be maneuvering around) – and end up involved in an accident as a result.

Day 2 built on the first day and added a timed autocross, braking and lane change exercises, and drifting (on the skidpad, one of my favorite activities), followed by rat races on the skidpad (even more fun!).

It was evident that our class was making great improvements throughout the two days. We were all driving in a safer, more controlled, and more efficient manner than when we arrived the prior morning for freshman orientation.

At the end of the day, we played follow the leader in a series of BMW M cars, sequentially navigating the course first in one and then going through the rest of the M lineup, including the M3, M5, M6, and X6M.

It’s hard to encapsulate everything I learnt into a “What I did on my summer vacation” essay but I gained respect both for what the cars are capable of and how important it is to focus on basic defensive driving when out in the real world.

Corner entry, slalom, and skidpad may sound like fun but they also prepare drivers for whatever the real world may throw at them. Going from vehicle to vehicle at the end required each driver to adapt quickly to the change in vehicle dynamics and everything covered in the course all of a sudden comes into play.

School was never like this when I was a youngster but I hope I’ll be back for another semester soon.


BMW Performance Center West Driving School
86030 62nd Avenue
Thermal, California 92274
Tel. 888 345-4269

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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