They’re a hedonistic orgy of horsepower, burning rubber and speed, but why should you spend your hard-earned cash on a drive day? Wheels tagged along to BMW’s 2 Series Coupe Driving Experience at Eastern Creek to find out.
In the meantime, here’s five reasons why you should – no, need to – get along to a drive day:
Reason 1: You’re not Michael Schumacher
It’s hard to believe, we know, but no matter how many lap records you’ve set on the PlayStation, you’re not a Formula 1 driver. Sure, you might be a good at the wheel, but even the world’s top racers need to constantly hone their skills.
BMW had a team of experienced instructors on hand to make us faster.
Far from pointing out our flaws, the instructors’ job was to flatter us when we nailed it, and point us in the right direction when we didn’t.
Pitched at all skill levels, our course taught us everything from how to follow the correct racing line to how to brake correctly, with the day focussed on perfecting the basic skills of track driving.
Sound too tame? Happily, track days are becoming big business, meaning hoards of brands, not just BMW, offer programs, with some advanced courses even slotting customers into proper racing cars at some of Australia’s best tracks.
Reason 2: It’s better than karting
Well, better than hire-karting anyway. Typically, hire karts are slow, beaten up and wonky to steer, so why waste a fortune in a kart when, for about the same cash, you can spend an entire day pushing a real car to its limit?
BMW had its new M235i coupe and 428i on hand for us to steer at Eastern Creek, but if the Bavarian marque isn’t your thing, these days almost every brand – including Audi, Porsche, Lotus, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and HSV – offer track days.
And then there are the tracks themselves. Forget pokey little hire kart tracks built in giant tin sheds, drop a few hundred bucks on a track day and you’ll drive on some of Australia’s best circuits – meaning you could find yourself flying over Lukey Heights at Phillip Island, keeping it pinned through Sandown’s Dandenong Rd Corner or squirrelling under brakes into Turn Two at Eastern Creek.
Reason 3: The car isn’t yours
No need to take your own pride and joy to the ragged edge. Sign up to a track day and mechanical sympathy isn’t something that will even enter your mind. The cars aren’t yours, neither are the tyres or even the fuel, so you’re free to drive as hard and fast as you like.
Of course, if fanging someone else’s car isn’t your thing, most tracks around Australia offer Arrive and Drive packages, which, for an even smaller outlay than a manufacturer track day, allow you to test the limits of your daily drive.
Reason 4: It’s fun
Remember fun? That weird sensation that makes you smile and feel all fuzzy? Track days are dripping in the stuff.
Whether it’s the thrill of hitting 200km/h-plus on the straight, feeling the back step out through the bends, or nailing a perfect lap, a track day is sure to leave you grinning like an idiot.
And the best thing? No matter how hard or how fast your drive, there’s no chance of getting a speeding ticket and it all happens in a safe and controlled environment.
Reason 5: You can race
Well, maybe not on the actual circuit, but most drive days offer a motorkhana element for the competitive types.
Usually held on a skidpan, the motorkhana challenges drivers against the clock on a tricky, and usually very slippery, course.
Our day used BMW’s new 2 Series coupe, but sadly there weren’t any trophies on offer, just a BMW hat and bag for the winner, and the knowledge you’re the quickest of your group.
Want more info on the BMW 2 Series coupe? Head here:
To sign up for a track day, click here:
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