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BMW Drive Day: pedal to the metal

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Kate Freeman and Ashleigh Went discover their inner speed demons at a recent BMW Driving experience.

I’m what you’d describe as ‘not into cars.’ My husband, on the other hand, is as ‘car guy’ as they come and makes up for what I lack in engine enthusiasm — he lives and breathes them.

But even though cars don’t ‘flick my switch’, I totally got a kick out of driving a BMW M3 around Sydney Motorsport Park…in fact, I loved it and I’d totally do it again. I’m also scheming about how my future income can ensure that one day I can own one of those cars. I want a white one. With big black wheels (I can’t get over how much I sound like my husband).

When Rolfe Classic BMW invited Ashleigh and I to attend the BMW Driving Experience, I was super keen and pulled all the strings I could to get me there (thanks Mum for picking up my kids after school, you’re the best!). It was totally worth it.


After a delicious hot lunch, we started the afternoon with a safety briefing. We were driving reasonably powerful, expensive cars around a race track by ourselves..now was the time to check egos at the door.

We learnt about apexing corners, braking at the right time – slow into corners and fast out – and what to do if you think you might miss the corner and start heading for the wall… Very important information.

After that, it was motorkhana time. This means that we drove a John Cooper Works Mini as fast as we could around a safety cone course on a skid pan covered in water. Watching everyone do it before us was super intimidating, and I wasn’t overly confident about how I would go. Also, it wasn’t just about driving around the course without hitting a cone — we were all being timed and had four turns to see who could get the quickest time. Oh! …my competitive side just came alive. I was gonna give this a fair crack!

I’m pleased to say that I knocked seven seconds off my time over the four turns and was less than two seconds off the winning time. Maybe race car driving is my fall back career if nutrition doesn’t work out?


It was so fun! They are awesome, powerful little cars that can be pushed quite hard and not lose traction. I was impressed.

Next, it was BMW driving time. We got to pick out of M3s (four door) and M4s (two door). They are twin-turbo charged straight sixes, which hubby tells me are really cool. Like 240 kilowatts of power cool. Yeah, I just said kilowatts.


Anyway, driving one of those cars as fast as you can around a race track is so fun! I don’t even care how slow I actually drove, but I felt like I was channeling Craig Lowndes. I got to 162 km/h down the straight. Which is faster than I’ve ever driven before. The track runs out fast when you’re going that quick.

Lastly, the afternoon finished off with a hot lap, where the instructors show you how it’s done. Meaning, the corner that I drove into at 100km/h thinking I was boss, they drove into at 190. Yep, let’s just say I’m thankful for competition brake pads. They were pretty amazing and if I had just bought a brand new M3 and someone drove it like that I’d slap them, but internally be like, “great drive, you bastard.”

Celebrate the BMW EOFY sales festival at Rolfe Classic BMW with savings equal to the GST across the range. Visit www.rolfeclassicbmw to find out more.

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