Category Archives: Racing

How to Autocross Your BMW

It might not be the fastest race in the world, but autocross is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door — so to speak — in the world of racing. Autocross is an amateur race where all you need to enter is a driver’s license, a vehicle and a helmet. If you’re interested in auto crossing your BMW, here are all the tips and tricks you need to know to get started.

First, Pick up a Helmet

Bicycle helmets won’t cut it for an autocross race. Your helmet has to be DOT rated, but only class M for motorcycles or class SA for special applications are allowed on the track. You can take the visor off if it interferes with your vision, but you have to keep your head covered. If you don’t have your own helmet, show up early — most tracks offer a limited number of helmets for rent, but they’re first come first served, so you need to show up early to make sure you can get your hands on one.

Pick the Right Class

There’s a variety of different classes of autocross races, so it’s important to make sure you pick the right class. Street category requires street tires and limits the number of bolt-on modifications allowed. Street Touring still requires street tires but allows more bolt-ons. Street Prepared allows racing tires and bolt-ons, while Street Modified allows more internal engine modifications. Prepared and Modified categories have higher allowances for mods.

There are also classes for classic American muscle cars, vintage cars and karts.

Walk the Track

Autocross isn’t just a race — it’s an automotive obstacle course. The nice thing about autocross races is that you don’t have to have a dedicated track for a race. As long as you’ve got enough space, you can set up an autocross track in a parking lot, an empty field or anywhere that’s flat and open — as long as you have permission, of course. Grab some cones or some easily removable parking lot paint, and you’re good to go!

Once you’ve arrived, take a few minutes to walk the track and figure out where the curves and tricks are to give you an advantage once you hit that starting line. If you need some help, ask — chances are, you’ll make a new friend in the process, and you may even learn something that gives you an edge.

Get Inspected

Before you can take the track, you’ll need to get your car inspected. Make it easier for your inspector — open the hood and take all loose items out of the car. You’ll also need to take the driver’s side floor mat for safety reasons. The inspector will check things like the lug nuts, wheel bearings, suspension and battery, as well as the seatbelts or harnesses, brakes and accelerator. The goal is to make sure your car is safe and ready to race, whether you’re racing in the street class or one of the modified ones.

Once the inspection is complete and you get your numbers, it’s time to get into the lineup and race!

If you want to try your hand at racing but don’t have the skills to get into a professional racing circuit, autocross is a great place to start. It’s competitive, but in a casual sort of way, and if you’ve got a helmet, a driver’s license and a car, you’ve got everything you need to enter. Make sure your car is in good shape, learn your track and whatever you do, don’t forget your helmet!

BMW at Monterey Car Week

Photos by Mitchell Weitzman and Daniel Blodgett.

There’s nothing quite like vintage, historic motor racing where one can see such storied, beautiful, and valuable machinery be used the way they were meant to. Having BMW as the featured marque at the Motorsports Reunion only added to the appeal.

Where else can you see so many amazing, rare BMW’s in one place? Fortunately for Bavarian aficionados, BMW was a featured marque at several major events at Monterey Car Week, celebrating the centenary of the storied brand. As a result, BMW’s by the hundreds flocked to the Monterey Peninsula to commemorate the week and their cars.  There’s always been a large attraction of BMW’s here every year, but never like this. DSC_2457

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca shows that nostalgia is not a shameful condition. It’s only natural to yearn for days past and to live in another era, especially when it has to do with cars. There’s nothing quite like vintage, historic motor racing where one can see such storied, beautiful, and valuable machinery be used the way they were meant to.  Having BMW as the featured marque at the Motorsports Reunion only added to the appeal.

DSC_0466With 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’s’ tangling on track with M1 Procars and 2002s, it’s a marvelous sensation. If you’ve never had the chance to hear a Procar in person, wringing out the M88, it’s pure majesty. If I could, I’d have the sound played at my wedding. BMW brought numerous racing cars from their past on display in the paddock as well, including a F1 GTR, V12 LMR, M3 GTR, and a Williams F1 car featuring a BMW V10.DSC_2273

Also on track throughout the week with the BMW’s were Ferrari GTOs, Porsche 911s, Group C madness, Can-Am, Trans Am, and also now in its second year at Laguna Seca, classic Formula 1 cars. With the price of admission comes unparalleled access to the paddock, where all the racing cars are on display for the fans between races. The drivers, crew members, and owners are all incredibly nice too, offering conversation to admiring spectators.

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Of course, the other, unofficial show are the parking lots. Anywhere you go, there’s exotic machinery. At Laguna, it was the BMW car corral inside the track. Elsewhere, be it on the streets in Carmel, or at the Embassy Suites, BMW’s were out in full force.

DSC_2467At the headline event, the Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance, classics ranging from original Mille Miglia-spec 328s to the exquisite Alexander Calder 3.0 CSL ‘art car’ were on display celebrating the brand along the coastal cliffs of scenic Pebble Beach. Seeing an old 328 in person, it’s every bit as elegant as a period Delahaye or Bugatti.

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For anyone who hasn’t gone, put it on your car-bucket list. You won’t regret it. Here are some photographic highlights of BMW’s through the week.

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Boris Said, along with Jonathan Edwards and Bill Auberlen, greeting fans.

DSC_0315 DSC_0318Anyone know the name of this color? It works brilliantly.

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A rare BMW M3 Lightweight. Stock on these are rising fast.

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Alpina stripes should be brought back on current offerings.

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Who needs an M4 GTS? Absolutely menacing.

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George Miller should use BMWs in the next Mad Max perhaps

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Just. Look. At. It.

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Once owned by the King, Elvis Presley, this 507 just finished a complete restoration by BMW in Munich.

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M3ntal. The attention to detail is astounding.

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