The recent push towards autonomous cars, whether full or partial, doesn’t really excuse humans who don’t know the basics of safe driving. In order to help better train the drivers of tomorrow, and, at the same time, give them a taste of the exhilarating experience of driving a BMW car, BMW and sibling company MINI have launched a joint Driving Experience program, offering training courses for drivers of different ages and bents. That BMW and MINI Driving Experience is coming to US once again now that BMW’s Performance Center West and East now both carry that seal of approval.
In a way, it’s a sort of re-launching. The BMW Performance Center East opened way back in 1999 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the company’s first center in the US. That center has trained more than 161,000 BMW customers since its opening. The BMW Performance Center West in southern California is a bit newer, opening only in 2014. That said, it already boasts of 9.700 trained customers in that short time span.
The West Performance Center is located on a sprawling 32-acre area with numerous facilities to accommodate all sorts of driver training, including a 1.4-mile circuit, skid pad, and 8,500 sq. ft. performance facility. It’s location, just two hours’ drive southeast of Los Angeles, is also auspicious, as it is within easy driving reach of The Thermal Club’s 5.5-mile racetrack and maintenance facilities.
The driver training courses offered at this Performance Center embraces drivers of all types and ages. For younger and less experienced drivers, there’s the Car Control Clinics and Teen Driving Schools. Those who want more a racecar experience can look towards the M and Advanced M Schools. There are also courses for specialized classes of drivers, like business customers.
BMW and MINI are working hand in hand to bring its Driving Experience certification to more countries around the world. Starting with Netherlands and now the US, the two are working on adding South Korea, South Africa, and Scandinavia to that roster soon.