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BMW Centenary celebrations


A birthday is a special event in the life of a person, especially when you hit a milestone like thirty or fifty. Now imagine the celebration when you reach 100 years. Well, German car manufacturer BMW has reached 100 years this year and the BMW Car Club of Gauteng decided to throw one massive party, which I was invited to.

On the 20th of August, Red Star Raceway was the place to be for all those who have a BMW badge on their bonnet. Not only was this day a track day it also included the Bridgestone Pink Valve Activation Campaign in support of Breast Cancer. The turnout was incredible as fans and those loyal to the brand flocked to the track to show support for the event and what it entailed.

One of the things that I loved about the event is that there was a vast variety of different people with different backgrounds who all share a common interest, BMW. This meant that I could have a conversation with just about anyone that looked my way. The second thing that I really enjoyed was the racing. Standing on the pit wall as different BMW cars came flying past with engines screaming is really exciting for me. As is the case with track days and time trials, drivers tend to push hard to get the best time, this means that it is easy to be on the edge and like one unlucky driver found out, easy to go over.

The driver of a BMW M4 lost control on the main straight and hit the tyre wall at some speed. Thankfully though he made it out without a scratch, his car though was not so lucky. This is racing though and BMW has perfected its craft of building outstanding vehicles through its racing programs and experience.

This being a party one would expect great food and that is exactly what was on offer. There was something for everyone as on the one side of the track there were racing cars hurtling around the place and on the other, the smell of a braai while other festivities took place. There is no better way to spend a Saturday.

To make the day even better the BMW Car Club of Gauteng arranged for a parade lap to celebrate the brand which they love. The track will be lined with cars and bikes all bearing the BMW badge. I was particularly looking forward to this event because I had brought my very own BMW to take part. It’s a 2000 model E39 M5 which just happened to be the only one at the event.

As I drove onto the track I realised that this was most probably the first time that my car has ever been on a racetrack, and there is no better moment than for the 100 year celebration. All 147 cars and 256 motorcycles drove around the track hooting and waving as we went around. There was such a variety of BMW cars that it was difficult to look ahead. At one stage I pulled up next to a gorgeous BMW 840ci, I looked at the driver, he looked at me and we just smiled.

It was a special day celebrating a rather special brand. The amount of love for the BMW brand could be felt and heard throughout the day and it is moments like this that remind me why I love cars so much. It’s the community, the friends and the experiences that I get to be a part of that I cherish.

Bridgestone Track Challenge top five results were as follows:

 1) Leon Loubser (BMW E92 335i) - 2:00.393

 2) Pieter Zeelie (Lotus Exige) - 2:05.225

 3) Rick Loureiro (BMW E30) - 2:05.752

 4) Alex Desogus (BMW E36 M3) - 2:08.079

 5) Clinton Spence (Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) - 2:08.560

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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