Before you start dumping gobs of horsepower into your BMW or installing the latest and greatest coil-over kit, learn how to drive it first!  It’ll cost you a heck of a lot less money, you’ll have tons of fun, and in the end you’ll actually know a lot more about your car and your limitations as a driver.

I was at a confrence in St. Louis a few years ago and hanging at the hotel bar with current NASCAR driver Boris Said.  He had just purchased a new M5 and was just about ready to get rid of the car.  I asked him why.  His answer, ‘it’s just to damn fast to drive around town’

However, I can pretty much guarantee that as these words came out of his mouth, Joe-Racer Boy was online ordering some sort of turbo-charger kit for the same car.  He’ll probably wreck it a week after it gets installed.  It never ceases to amaze me that while BMW continues to make faster and better handling cars, that some tuner company will offer all kinds of shit for people to buy.   Learn to drive first!!  Here’s how . . .

Your local BMWCCA Chapter will be of great resource in your new quest of driving perfection.  A good first step is to sign up for an Autocross event.  Autocross is a full day of driving around a ‘track’ that has been set-up with cones in a large parking lot. In San Diego we might have one of the better autocross events, as most of them are two-day events and they are held at Qualcomm Stadium; a huge lot with interesting dips and slopes.  Autocross is the best $50-70 you can spend, and in general it is a very safe experience for both you and your car.  The BMW Car Club will have several experienced instructors present offering in-car instruction, and they’ll serve you lunch.  When the autocross ends, you’ll have a huge smile on your face, you’ll know a lot more about your car, and you’ll realize that you need a lot more practice!

Driving school would be the next option and has a much different feel than an Autocross.  You’ll be on a real track, it’ll be a full weekend event, and you’ll learn a hell of a lot more than the Autocross events that you’ve attended in the past.  Driving schools are also offered by the BMWCCA along with several private schools depending on which track is in your area.  Prices on these schools vary depending on location and duration.

One huge benefit in all of this ‘learning to drive’ stuff is that it might actually save your life one day.  If you do all of this before you bolt on a turbo kit or spend thousands on a suspension kit, you might find that your car is fine the way it is or scale back the modifications to better suit your needs as a recreational driver.

Have Fun!

Chris Keefer

Independent Motorcars

5836 Autoport Mall

San Diego CA 92121