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BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

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  • 30 Apr 2024 5:46 PM | Anonymous

    Dear members,  

    Welcome to my April Report on everything going on in our Club. I just don’t know where the months are going, seems only yesterday I was doing last month’s report.

    It has again been a very busy month, with some huge events held across April.

    5 April - the month started with a visit to long time Sponsors, Peninsula BM in Mornington. It was a fantastic and informative night, and we couldn’t have asked for a better evening weather-wise to finish off our daylight savings outdoor events for the year. We had a coffee van onsite and Krispy’s Burgers for dinner and everyone loved them! Dean gave a great talk on the history of Peninsula BM then took everyone on a tour of the facility. Was great to have all the team on hand to meet too, as we usually only get to speak to them on the phone, great putting faces to voices.

    10th April – one of our biggest events for a long time. We visited new club Sponsors Walkinshaw Andretti United Racing, to see their fantastic facilities and what services they can provide for members. Not only do they run a Supercar team, they can also do engine rebuilds, race car preparation, component design and manufacture, all sorts of things! We had to close the event after only a few days of registrations, so it wouldn’t be too crowded. With over 60 members on hand it was a very interesting night, talking to each of the specialists in different areas of the business and a great talk from Darcy. Was great getting up close to their 2 Supercars as they were about to head to New Zealand for the next Supercar round and the Super2 cars getting ready for their next round. Dinner was provided by the club, as usual and a great night had by all.

    25-28 April – Another fantastic weekend away with our ANZAC Long Weekend trip to Beechworth. 17 cars headed off on Thursday morning, picking up a couple more on the way and then we met up with more members already up there. we enjoyed lots of twisty country roads and delicious meals all over the high country over the 4 days. Jo outdid herself organising the accommodation, it was just delightful and each of the places we had lunch or dinner was perfect. Peter’s trip book and drive routes were amazing, as always, don’t know how he does it, but he always leads us on the most amazing roads. Thanks Peter. The autumn colors were out in a blaze of color and some beautiful photos were taken of the cars lined up under a bunch of orange and red trees. We even had a little down time to do our own thing, explore the township or other sights, like woolshed falls. It was a fun weekend, and everyone had a ball, a few new members came along too and enjoyed meeting everyone on the trip. Pretty sure a few new friendships were made there, and we even picked up some new members at one of the stops when they saw all the BMWs arrive together.

    I must say thank you, again, to new Club Sponsors, Doncaster BMW, for loaning Jo and I the beautiful Alpina B4. What an amazing car! I am doing a write up on it for our blog, so keep an eye out for that. Suffice to say, it was the embodiment of Sheer Driving Pleasure! What a car, more than enough power and torque to handle the hills and overtaking and handled with all the refinement and comfort of a top of the line sports touring car.

    Looking ahead

    There are lots of events coming up on our always busy calendar to look forward to. There have been a few changes to the motorsport and driver training events forced on us by the resurfacing at Phillip Island closure so take note of our motorsport dates below.

    • 4 May - Our 6th Birthday Presentation Dinner, supporting Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute. It will be an epic night, one to look forward to indeed. We sold out before we reached the cut off date so it will be another fun night out and for a very worthy cause. I am told that if we reach $2500 in donations before the night I am going to turn up with pink hair! So watch out for the photos next week, might be some very funny pics to be seen. There will be a silent auction and raffle on the night too, so it will be great to see how much we can raise for Peter Mac this year.
    • 7 May - Berwick BMW members meeting, always great to drop in and see the Team at Berwick.
    • 9 May - Welcome to Winter, Drop in at Daniels Donuts – Geelong, these casual meetups are getting very popular.
    • 11 May - Round 2 – Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship at Sandown
    • 19 May - National Motoring Heritage Day Cavalcade down Geelong way
    • 2 June - Kaos Custom Bikes – Come and Try -Motorkhana at Calder Park on the Thunderdome. Was a great fun day last year and promises to be another one this time
    • 15 June - Traction Tyres/ Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 3 at Calder Park on the National Circuit
    • 20 July - Christmas in July – Sovereign Hill – Winter Wonderlights weekend away
    • 29 July - Kaos Custom Bikes – Come and Try – Broadford
    • 11 August - Kaos Custom bikes – Come and Try – Sandown
    • 25 August - Traction tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 5 at Phillip Island
    • 29 October - 6 November – Tasmania Trip 2 - The Northern Half
    • 10 November - Hill Climb – Bryant Park our first Hill climb for a couple of years, will be great to get back down to Morwell
    • 14 November - AGM at the German Tivoli Club
    • 21- 24 November - Challenge Bathurst
    • 1 December - Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 6 – Phillip Island
    • 8 December - Christmas Show & Shine – Family picnic – Cruden Farm

    To register for any of the above events, head on over to our calendar

    Remember to keep an eye on emails and updates, as dates do change, sometimes by events out of our control, and new events are added all the time, and I’d hate to see you miss out on something.

    Our new motorsport top has sold out and we are waiting for a new order to arrive. The new design was very popular, and they do look fantastic, so get your orders in as soon as you can, and we’ll send them out, or come to our track days and we will have stock there. Check out all the other club merchandise in our store too, always lots to chose from.

    Edition 6 of our wonderful magazine, idrive, is with the printer as we speak, so you will receive it on Saturday if you are at the 6th Birthday Celebration Dinner, or it will be in the mail next week. Can’t wait to see the next edition. Well done to all who contributed stories, but especially Jo for chasing up content and Jess for all her continued hard work putting it all together. She does an amazing job, and we are all very proud of her and the end result of her toils.

    Membership continues to grow, above 800 members now, so welcome to all of you have joined and thank you to all of you that keep renewing. We must be doing something right to keep you coming back. As always though, this is your club, so if you have an event idea or suggestion, don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of the committee and we will see what we can do. We are always looking for inspiration and new places to visit.

    It is now just under 12 months until we are hosting the BMW Clubs Australia Nationals in Melbourne, over the ANZAC weekend, 2025. Keep the date free in your calendar. Planning is well underway, we are building a web site and setting up the entry system as we speak. All of this will be released very soon. It is looking like a great event. So make sure you keep the weekend free to come and join us. We will also be looking for lots of helpers to run the Nationals, so keep that in mind too for when we put out a call for helpers.

    Our welfare team has been working away quietly in the background, providing support and assistance where needed. It is a great part of the club we have that there is a facility there when we need it. Very proud of the work the team do and very heartwarming to see the results of being there when someone needs a shoulder to lean on. If you need any help or an ear to listen to a problem, reach out, they are there to help in any way we can.

    Take care out there, especially as the days get colder and wetter as we head into Winter, and I look forward to seeing you at an event soon.

    Graeme Bell | President

    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.

    PO Box 81, Tyabb VIC 3913
    Incorporated in Victoria #A0102695G
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc is a member of: BMW Clubs Australia and the BMW Clubs International Council
    Motorsport Australia Affiliated Motorsport Club

  • 27 Apr 2024 10:37 AM | Anonymous

    Event date: August 2023

    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne have successfully run this event now for 2 years, in 2022 and 2023.

    Why did we start running his event you may ask.

    With the Covid lockdowns there were a lot of events which were cancelled or postponed.

    In 2020 at our Royal Childrens Hospital Good Friday Car Display event we were approached by a member of the Mercedes Club and asked if we had heard anything about the GAS event being held that year and we said no we had not.

    Graeme and I discussed this and also spoke to our committee and thought we would approach the VW Club and see if this event would be resurrected after the lock down.

    We got a response saying that they had issues with venues and volunteers, and it was unlikely they would be holding the event in 2020.

    This got us thinking and we suggested that we run the event in 2021 with their blessing.  We were invited to a committee meeting where we presented our prospectus to them, and they were happy for us to run it as long as we kept the theme of the event the same, which we were more than happy to do as previously these events were always run so well by the VW Club and always well attended.

    We agreed to run the event that year and VW do the next.

    Flyers were made by VW and then the promoting started. We had the date booked for the same weekend which it had always run, which was late August 2021, but sadly due to more COVID lockdowns we had to postpone the event to Jan 2022.  Now this was not an easy thing to do as we had many food and trade stands attending, not to say all the entrants who had paid to attend. 

    Weeks and months of preparation had to be put on hold and a new date was to be sourced.  Luckily, we managed to get the last Sunday in January and we prayed for good weather and a great turn out. 

    The event was being held at Sandown Raceway on the Red Hill area.

    These events are both expensive and need as small army of volunteers to help run them.  We were lucky to have help from the venue and sponsorship form Shannons to help with some of the expenditure. 

    I had chosen Beyond Blue as our charity for this event, because of all the fantastic work they had and are still doing through Covid with mental health.  They were very happy to have us raise fund for them, and I naively thought we would raise approximately $2500.

    As we neared the event, I was getting more and more trade stands wanting to attend and they all donated to the charity as part of their contribution to attending.  The numbers were steadily going up for our charity and even though we were exhausted with all the planning, it was going to be a great day.

    The week prior to the event we had 3 days of solid Melbourne rain, and I was so worried about what it would be like, I had nervous vendors calling me wanting to know what would happen, I said we will still hold the event rain hail or shine.

    The Saturday before, 4 of us attended the venue to mark out the areas for the display cars and start the huge set up. 

    After several hours in 38c we were all drained and headed back to the Park Royal Monash for some much-needed rest and refuelling.

    We had a large group of members come down from NSW who were also staying at the hotel, which was fantastic, it is always great to have inter club events.  

    Early start, we headed out there for our final set up and the weather Gods were very kind to us.  Our band of volunteers arrived early which made this part easy.

    All at their points we started getting all the cars in and how emotional was this.  Now remember, this was also a very hot day and our volunteers stayed on point all day, I had 2 runners taking water, food and seats (no one sat) they had no time. We had erected marques for them to get some shade and luckily some were under trees too, so it made it a little bit easier for them.

    The event was a huge success, and we smashed the donation total out of the park and raised just under $10,500 but we rounded it up to that amount.  (I don’t like odd amounts LOL)

    Tired, foot sore, we all headed home feeling amazing to be part of such a successful event.  I have thanked my volunteers for this event before, but I will thank them again as without them, we would not have achieved such a successful event.

    Also, I would like to again thank all the car clubs who attended with their amazing cars to put on such a great show.

    After the event I sent a very detailed breakdown of costs and contacts to the VW committee so they would be able to use this information for the next event.

    In late 2021 I received an email from one of the VW committee members wanting us to help them run the event at the same venue in January, but unfortunately, we had already booked the first half of the year with events, and this would not be possible for us at least to help with.  I did suggest they do it on that date, but it did conflict with one of Melbourne’s biggest Car Shows and it may not be a good idea to have 2 cars shows on the same day.   This was agreed by the VW committee.

    Some months later we were approached by one of our members who suggested Calder Park for the event, if we were planning on holding it during the winter months (historically this event has been held on the last Sunday in August) being mainly tarmac, it would be much easier for all the cars and bikes to be displayed.

    Our committee met and thought about it, I contacted Calder to see what they thought of this, and they agreed to us holding the event with them.

    We contacted VW club again and suggested this and then set up a sight visit with the President of the VW Club, BMW Motorcycle club and ourselves attending.

    All agreed this was a great venue, yes it looked tired but personally I think that added to the patina of the event with historic cars on display at such an iconic venue.

    You might ask why BMW Bikes were attending the viewing.

    2023 BMW Bikes celebrated 100 years of the R32 and they asked if they could be part of this great event with us and we all agreed.

    Now the hard work started.

    VW designed another fantastic flyer and away we went with the promoting of this event.

    I contacted Beyond Blue again and asked if we could collect for them and again, they were over the moon and said, ‘Yes Please’.  My goal for this event was to raise more than previously but I was worried, due to the change in venue and this one being in August and not January there might not be as many attending.

    I was very lucky with this event, as Nella Santisi asked if she could start promoting the event through her socials and with her business contacts and of course I said yes.

    This soon became almost a full-time job for us both and each Thursday and some Saturdays, Nella would come down to Hastings to our club rooms and we would work away on promoting, contacting dealerships, other clubs etc.

    Again, months of hard work and many hours of us both tirelessly slogging away we started to see the light.

    Yes, we had a committee for this event who worked behind the scenes, but Nella and I were the face of this event, and our hard work was paying off.  The tally for Beyond Blue was going up each week and my goal of going over $10,500 was achieved even before the event.

    Graeme set up a web site early in the planning stages and updated it with photos, videos, sponsors, clubs attending, and of course the ever-changing dollar value of our fund-raising amounts.  This was fabulous and I feel really helped with the promoting of this event.

    At one stage I did say I wanted $20K but thought I am just being greedy.  If you don’t put it out there you won’t get it, I was told.

    Getting closer to the event I enlisted my small army of volunteers and the other clubs who were attending also supplied volunteers who were amazing. 

    The week prior to the event the weather was looking dodgy, and I prayed each day for sunshine or just clouds but no rain.

    Again, as in previous years I received emails, text, calls from patrons and vendors asking what would happen if it rained, I simply said the cars get wet, that was pretty much all I could say.

    Honestly, someone must love me up there as the day before the sun was out for our set up and all my merry men and woman attended and helped with set up and after many exhausting hours, we all went back to our hotel, West Waters in Caroline Springs and again rested and refuelled. 

    Setting up the day before was great as we could step out where all the trade stands would be and all the display cars.  Nells and I had our doubts we would fit everyone in, but Graeme called us worry warts as most know the Thunderdome is massive and after arriving and setting up, we could have had 3 times as many there and still had plenty of room.  Sorry Graeme for ever doubting you.  Yes, there you have it an apology in writing. LOL

    The morning was another very early start and we had patrons already lined up waiting to come in even though they had been told their entry times.

    All officials to their battle points and it was like a small army, again I am so proud of all ours and the other club’s volunteers for how hard they all worked.  We managed to relieve some of our officials but again it was just so busy all the time, we were running from start to finish.

    Great weather, great display stands, great clubs attending, and especially fantastic to have BMW Bikes on display for their 100-year celebration.

    We had some fantastic raffle prizes donated by vendors, dealerships, and clubs which I thank you all for.

    John Bowe was there to sign autographs and present the winners of Best in Class. 

    Our club Treasurer did an initial count of tins and raffle money and at the end of the day we were just over $21K. I burst into tears and was told by one of our members he felt we could make $25K after the final counting was done.

    Beyond Blue had their own donation tins on the day and they told me they would be able to give us the final figure by Wednesday. These were the longest few days for me as I was so excited and so were all the others associated with this event.

    The email came in and like previously we were just under $25k so BMW Drivers Club Melbourne made up the difference to make it an even amount.

    Just because the event was over didn’t mean the hard work was finished.

    Thank you, emails were sent to all who attended, informing them of our final tally.

    All vendors, sponsors and volunteers received thank you emails.  This took me and Nella over 2 weeks to complete.

    Our club trailer needed to be cleaned out and re packed this was a huge task.

    Now if you are ever thinking about holding an event like this, a word of advice, make sure you have a dedicated team behind you and loving supportive partner to reassure you that you are doing the right thing, when you fall in a heap from exhaustion and a band of volunteers who will work with you to achieve your final goal.

    Thank you to all who contributed to both these great events, without your help be it little or large, these two events would not have been the success they were.

    Jo Mawson | Member #2
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 27 Apr 2024 10:20 AM | Anonymous

    Our club together with The BMW Motrorcycle Club of Victoria recently organised a visit to the new Ringwood BMW Dealership and it was a thrilling experience for all members from both clubs.  As we walked into the dealership we were immediately greeted by the sleek and stylish BMW models showcased on the showroom floor.

    BMW has two separate 2-series cars at present.  The G42 2 series Coupe shares much with the G20 3-series and, like it, is based on BMW’s CLAR platform for rear-drive cars, or rear-drive-biased Xdrive all-wheel-drive models.  The F44 2-series Gran Coupe is based on the UKL2 architecture shared with other smaller BMWs and the MINI range, for front-drive cars or front-biased AWD models.  In BMW’s usual model naming, a 2-series coupe and Gran Coupe would both be based on the 1-series.  But the front-drive platform was unsuitable for an M2 version of the 2-series coupe, so the rear-drive G42 coupe was born.

    A recent loan car from Waverley BMW was an F44 M235i Gran Coupe.  Many will know I owned a F54 MINI Clubman JCW, and the F44 is a stretched and updated version of the same platform, with the same 225KW/450NM version of the B48 engine, front-biased all-wheel-drive, mechanical limited slip front differential, an Aisan 8-speed torque converter automatic and large Brembo brakes.  Given the similarities, I was keen to compare the M235i.  And, of course, to compare it with my G42 230i Coupe.  For information, the M135i has the same mechanicals as the M235i, but is a hatchback on the shorter Clubman-sized platform.  The M235i is quite expensive, priced mid-way between the 230i and M240i coupes.

    Unfortunately, the weather was wet during my time with the M235i, and I didn’t have time for a long rural drive, so where handling is concerned these are impressions rather than a comprehensive comparison.

    Immediately, the M235i feels sportier than 230i but not as refined.  It’s very like the Clubman JCW in that regard.  It feels like a not-too-large front-drive sports car.

    Its engine is very responsive, sounds good, and is quite loud in sports mode, accompanied by lots of pops and bangs from the exhaust.  Overall, it’s much louder than 230i.  Acceleration is properly fast.  The all-wheel-drive system sends up to half the torque to the rear wheels and gives remarkable grip for acceleration even on wet roads.

    The M235i’s gearbox is much smoother in sports mode than the identical box in the Clubman. But this is achieved through slow changes, which are very noticeable in manual mode.  Stepping off the line is prompt, unlike the Clubman, so that’s an improvement.  Overall, not up to standard for a sporty car, and nowhere near the standard of the ZF gearbox in the 230i and other rear-drive BMWs.

    The M235i interior is a big step down from 230i in appearance and ambience – unsurprising seeing the 230i inherits its interior from the 3- and 4-series and other larger BMWs.  Some of materials and touch points seem a bit less sophisticated.  Quality is sound like the Clubman although, being a MINI, that interior feels more unique and special.  Also, the M235i interior feels narrow after the (admittedly very wide) 230i, but realistically it has adequate width.  At least my phone fits in the wireless charger, unlike in the 230i!

    Personally, I found the M235i front seats terrible.  They have a fixed headrest which is angled too far forward.  Just in normal driving it was banging my head constantly and gave me a near-instant headache, so I had to adopt a longer-arm driving position which is neither sustainable on a long trip nor conforming to BMW’s own seat position recommendations.  But if you have longer arms than me, or you sit more reclined, you’ll find the seat is otherwise pretty well shaped and fairly well bolstered, although bolstering is not adjustable as in the 230i.  The M235i seat lacks lumbar adjustment and is almost good enough to do without – it might be in an options pack as it is with the 230i.  The seat in my loan car was either leather or Sensatec (vinyl) but it was without seat heating (another option, no doubt) it was freezing to get into in winter.  I’m guessing it was leather, with the standard upholstery being the much more suitable Alcantara.

    The M235i’s rear seat is basic, as was the Clubman’s.  As for space, the rear lacks headroom unless you sit very upright so the your head is in the small raised area between the sunroof and the rear window. Because of its square shape, the Clubman is way more spacious in the rear.  If you regularly carry people of average or greater height in the back, you might see if the similar but shorter M135i hatch has more space – it might do, due to its squarer roof shape.  Access through the M235i’s narrow rear side doors is tight, and even the front doors are a bit tight. Frameless windows front and rear are a nice touch.  For comparison, the 230i’s rear seat is much better shaped with reasonable support.  It has slightly less headroom than the M235i but less legroom.

    OS7 drives the screens and user interface of the M235i.  Now being used to OS8 in the 230i, I much prefer it for its bigger screen, more info, better legibility and much more flexibility.  The only plus of OS7 is that “Set” cruise control function sets to the current speed limit, rather than current speed.

    Despite its appearance and the layout of BMW’s larger Gran Coupes, the M235i not a hatch but a sedan.  The boot lid doesn't open nearly far enough.  Mind your head!  That said, the boot is huge.  Predictably and sadly, there is no spare wheel - all the more frustrating as a space saver could fit under the main floor.

    Unsurprisingly given the shared platform, the M235i has steering that is MINI-like and heavier than 230i.  Steering feel is probably better than 230i but still not brilliant; this is another area in which the Clubman JCW was better.  The M235i has typical front-drive traits of occasional tramlining and less self-centring.  Overall, the steering doesn’t inspire confidence like the 230i’s.  On the positive, torque steer seems completely absent.

    The M235i ride seems a bit softer around town than both 230i and Clubman but it’s still firm.  The 230i becomes brilliant at rural speeds, but I didn’t get the chance to compare the M235i in the countryside.  However, I could tell that, overall, its handling is very like the Clubman’s, which shouldn’t be a surprise.  Fundamentally, it handles like a heavy-ish front-drive car.  It’s very fast powering out of corners if you use the limited slip front diff correctly to pull you through the corner, then that and the AWD rockets you out of the corner.  There’s not much mid-corner adjustability and it’s not a car to throw around.  You can’t play with the balance with the throttle or even the brakes to the degree you can in the 230i.  Unless going as fast as possible is your thing, the 230i is much, much better for handling in the traditional BMW style.  Roadholding/grip for the M235i seems good even in the wet, and of course AWD gives strong grip under acceleration.

    I did manage to check out the headlights.  On my loan car, they were fixed LEDs and were pretty good, but not as good for distance as 230i’s optional adaptive lights.

    Appearance-wise, the M235i suffers the fate of many current BMWs by being liked by some and not by others.  Personally, I think the profile is attractive.  The front is pretty good with only a slightly oversized grille.  The rear looks like an X4, which I rate as ugly.  Much of the point of a Gran Coupe is to be a more attractive alternative to its sibling sedan – or hatch, in this case – and in this regard the F44 Gran Coupe probably may miss the mark for many people.

    On its release, the M235i received mediocre reviews, especially from writers expecting a cut-price traditional (ie rear-drive) BMW.  This was especially the case in the USA, where it serves as the brand’s smallest sedan (the US doesn’t get the 1‑series hatch).  I know the M135i was sharpened up mid-cycle and received a better response, and I wonder if the M235i received the same treatment after its initial reviews.  How you view the car may depend on your expectations and what else is available at the price.  If you’re expecting typical BMW rear-drive handling, the M235i is clearly going to disappoint.  If you’re looking for a front-drive sporty car (yes, with the added benefit of supplementary rear drive), then it’s good.  For the enthusiast looking for the most engaging, best-handling front-drive sports car, there are superior alternatives.  For someone seeking luxury, there would be competitors at the BMW’s price.  The M235i, then, is either a bit of a compromise or a well-rounded car, depending on your viewpoint.  It’s a good, sporty-feeling car with a touch of sophistication and BMW’s high quality.  It’s fast and secure.  It would be good for a young family if they can afford it.  And based on my Clubman experience, it would be good for long-distance trips too.  It does many things quite well, but it’s not a knock-out blow against the competition.

    In contrast, the G42 2-series coupe has no competition, and even if it did, it’s a modern iteration of classic BMW at its best.  It proved to be a great decision by BMW to go to the trouble and cost of producing the 2‑series coupe on the CLAR rear-drive platform.  For singles or couples, rather than an M235i Gran Coupe, either saving money with a 230i coupe or stretching the budget to the AWD M240i Coupe are better options.

    Peter Williams | Member #36
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 26 Apr 2024 5:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Association of Motor Clubs (AOMC), Victoria's peak body for car and motoring enthusiast clubs (to which BMWDCM is affiliated) contributed to the funding of a national survey conducted by the Australian Motoring Heritage Foundation (AMHF) into the economic value of the historic and classic car movement.

    The Economic Value Study (EVS), the first of its kind in Australia, received over 6,000 responses and indicates that the owners of an estimated 970,000 historic vehicles in Australia spend on average $10,240 per vehicle annually across a range of items including running costs, travel costs and other related purchases such as club memberships.

    The survey also indicates that the total annual economic impact, including both direct and indirect expenditure, is $25.2 billion: with the sector creating almost 79,000 jobs – 42,000 direct and 37,000 indirect. These jobs generate $6.2 billion in wages and salaries annually.

    Read the executive summary here and the full report here. Note : both these links will take you to the AOMC website.

  • 22 Apr 2024 7:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Great results for BMW M Motorsport and Team WRT at the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). The 6 Hours of Imola (ITA) ended with a one-two result for the BMW M4 GT3 in the LMGT3 class. Augusto Farfus (BRA), Sean Gelael (INA), and Darren Leung (GBR) triumphed ahead of their team-mates Maxime Martin (BEL), Valentino Rossi (ITA), and Ahmad Al Harthy (OMA).

    Great results for BMW M Motorsport and Team WRT at the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). The 6 Hours of Imola (ITA) ended with a one-two result for the BMW M4 GT3 in the LMGT3 class. Augusto Farfus (BRA), Sean Gelael (INA), and Darren Leung (GBR) triumphed ahead of their team-mates Maxime Martin (BEL), Valentino Rossi (ITA), and Ahmad Al Harthy (OMA). It was the first victory for a BMW M Motorsport car in the history of the FIA WEC. BMW M Team WRT also celebrated success in the Hypercar category. After a challenging start in Qatar, Robin Frijns (NED), René Rast (GER), and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) gave a very strong performance, battled for the podium for a long time, and ultimately finished in sixth place.

    The weather conditions, with rain setting in around the halfway point of the race, turned the event into a strategy gamble. However, all BMW M Motorsport teams made the right tyre choices and were rewarded with outstanding results. The BMW M Hybrid V8 made enormous improvements compared to the season opener and was competitive under all conditions. On the wet track, final driver van der Linde even had the podium within reach, but problems during the last pit stop and a subsequent drive-through penalty pushed the #20 BMW M Hybrid V8 back to a still-strong sixth place. The #15 BMW M Hybrid V8 with Raffaele Marciello (SUI), Dries Vanthoor (BEL), and Marco Wittmann (GER) in the cockpit was unlucky and got innocently involved in a collision at the start. After about an hour of repairs, the team managed to get the car back on track for important test kilometres.

    The celebration was even greater in the LMGT3 category. Both BMW M4 GT3 crews continued on slick tyres as the rain began to fall, making the right decision. No competitor could match their speed, and they drove to a commanding one-two finish. Never before had a BMW M Motorsport car won a race in this series since the founding of the FIA WEC in 2012.

    Comments after the race at Imola:

    Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “That was an extremely positive FIA WEC event at Imola. In Hypercar, we made great progress after the challenging start in Qatar. We had the pace to achieve a top result on our own. I am pleased that car #20 was able to hold its own in the leading group throughout the race, even under difficult conditions. The early unprovoked accident of car #15 was very unfortunate and annoying. Many thanks to BMW M Team WRT, which rebuilt the car and sent it back on track. That allowed us to finish the race and collect important data to continue improving. On the LMGT3 side of the garage, it couldn't have gone better. Congratulations to all drivers and crew members for very strong performances. Thank you to everyone at BMW M Motorsport and the team for a very successful weekend!”

    Vincent Vosse (Team Principal BMW M Team WRT): “What a great weekend for our LMGT3 crews! Qualifying and the race went very well, and we did the little things right. Augusto and Maxime stayed on slicks on a wet track and were able to show incredible pace. That gave us a good lead and ultimately the one-two result. In Hypercar we were in the window where we belong this time after the big disappointment in Qatar. We are taking one step at a time and have already done some things very well here. On to the next race at Spa-Francorchamps.”

    Sheldon van der Linde (BMW M Team WRT, #20 BMW M Hybrid V8, 6th place): “In the end, that was one of the most challenging and craziest stints I've ever driven. I thought several times that I would lose the car. I knew I had to bring it home so we could score very good points. Luckily, that worked out. The team did a great job improving the car so much since Qatar. We can be very proud of that. Thank you to everyone!”

    Marco Wittmann (BMW M Team WRT, #15 BMW M Hybrid V8, 18th place): “That was a wild start phase, where some of our competitors quite misjudged themselves. I was hit from behind and spun around. That was very annoying. The guys did a great job repairing the car and getting us back on track. That allowed us to collect important test kilometres. My stint after the repair was great. The car felt good, and we could have made up some places. The pace and balance were good; we need to build on that. Hopefully, we'll have more racing luck next time.”

    Augusto Farfus (Team WRT, #31 BMW M4 GT3, 1st place): “I am incredibly happy and proud. We showed today that it's about having the best team in this championship, not just the best car or the best individual driver. In my stint, the track was always differently wet, and it was a constant question of which tyres were better. We stayed on slicks the whole time, and I felt very comfortable in the BMW M4 GT3 under those conditions. The team always stayed calm and did everything right in the end. It's my son's birthday today – I couldn't have given him a better gift.”

    Sean Gelael (Team WRT, #31 BMW M4 GT3, 1st place): “I'm super happy! Darren qualified the car in fourth place on Saturday and drove a strong first stint. I had quite a bit of fun after that and was able to make up some time. Then I handed over to Augusto, who was sensational on the track and put pressure on Maxime. It was not so bad today.”

    Darren Leung (Team WRT, #31 BMW M4 GT3, 1st place): “Winning in just my second FIA WEC race – that's just incredible! We did an outstanding job as a team. The turbulent start phase was difficult for me, but I got through it very well and was able to hand over the car in a good position to my colleagues.”

    Maxime Martin (Team WRT, #46 BMW M4 GT3, 2nd place): “A fantastic result for the team. We had a strong car and decided on a bold strategy. That made the difference in the end. Congratulations to the #31 crew on the victory! We collected a lot of points and will continue to work hard in the next races.”

    Valentino Rossi (Team WRT, #46 BMW M4 GT3, 2nd place): “I am very happy about the one-two for Team WRT, for BMW M Motorsport, and my first podium in FIA WEC. We already had a strong car on Saturday in qualifying, and Ahmad achieved a very good third starting position. In the race, we then decided to stay out on slicks. Augusto was a bit faster than Maxime at the beginning and took the lead. Nevertheless, I am very happy with the result.”

    Ahmad Al Harthy (Team WRT, #46 BMW M4 GT3, 2nd place): “My first podium with Team WRT – that's an incredible feeling! Many thanks to the team, which did a fantastic job. We took a calculated risk, and it paid off in the end.”


  • 11 Apr 2024 10:07 AM | Anonymous

    Schubert Motorsport took advantage of the official DTM test drives at Hockenheim (GER) on Tuesday and Wednesday to intensively prepare its three BMW M4 GT3s for the season start at the end of April. The BMW M works drivers René Rast (GER), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), and Marco Wittmann (GER) hit the track for the first time in the new car designs of the BMW M Motorsport Partners RoboMarkets, Shell, and Schaeffler.

    Schubert Motorsport took advantage of the official DTM test drives at Hockenheim (GER) on Tuesday and Wednesday to intensively prepare its three BMW M4 GT3s for the season start at the end of April. The BMW M works drivers René Rast (GER), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), and Marco Wittmann (GER) hit the track for the first time in the new car designs of the BMW M Motorsport Partners RoboMarkets, Shell, and Schaeffler. At the end of the four test sessions, the drivers drew a positive conclusion.

    In addition to the DTM, the ADAC GT Masters also conducted test sessions at Hockenheim. The FK Performance Motorsport team participated with two BMW M4 GT3s.

    On the sidelines of the testing, ADAC announced the continuation of the BMW M2 Cup. In the 2024 season, the cars will no longer be centrally deployed and managed but will be run by several teams. Along with this change, the portfolio of models eligible for the Cup has expanded. Three car categories are eligible to start, including the BMW M2 CS Racing in the 450 HP and 365 HP versions, as well as the 340 HP BMW M240i Racing. The BMW M2 Cup events are compact and take place over two days. Practice, qualifying, and races are held exclusively on Saturday and Sunday. The junior series will compete at a total of five DTM events and will hold two races lasting 25 minutes each weekend. The season starts from 24th to 26th May at the Lausitzring (GER). 

    Comments on the DTM test:

    Björn Lellmann (Head of Customer Racing at BMW M Motorsport): “When you walk through the Hockenheim paddock during the test drives, you immediately get the unique DTM feeling that still makes this race series special. The Schubert Motorsport team and our BMW M works drivers used the two days for intensive preparation. The professional attitude of all participants is impressive and gives me confidence that the team led by Team Principal Torsten Schubert will play an important role in the title race in the 2024 season. I also wish FK Performance Motorsport success in the ADAC GT Masters and ADAC GT4 Germany for the great effort they are putting into the upcoming season. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for everyone and look forward to the season start in just over two weeks when Schubert Motorsport will celebrate its home game at Oschersleben.”

    Marco Wittmann (#11 Schaeffler BMW M4 GT3): “I am very satisfied with the first test. We were able to try a lot, and everything went well. For me, it was primarily about getting to know the team and the engineers. This is crucial because we can only be successful during the season if we trust each other blindly.”

    Sheldon van der Linde (#31 Shell BMW M4 GT3): “The test could hardly have gone better. I am very satisfied with the processes in the team and the fact that we were able to complete our programme without any problems. I also really like the new design of my car. It's a real eye-catcher in the starting field and is sure to be easy to recognise in the races.”

    René Rast (#33 RoboMarkets BMW M4 GT3): “It was a good test. We had no problems over the two days, were able to try out many things, and were also fast in the end. All very positive. Having three cars in the garage was a bit of an adjustment at the beginning, but Schubert Motorsport already has the processes well under control. Let‘s keep it up.”


  • 7 Apr 2024 10:50 AM | Anonymous

    Event date: 3 March 2024

    A loud steam whistle greeted us at the Belgrave station. Boarding our exclusive BMWDCM carriage, we appeared to be overflowing. A few hapless interlopers were identified, and after a quick explanation of the ticketing system and carriage numbers, they politely left for another carriage. The historic train was full (literally sold out) of locals and international visitors with overactive cameras, on a chilly morning in The Dandenongs.

    Now that we all had seats, we settled in. Meg's 18 month old daughter came out of her quiet slumber and was quickly wide-eyed. Standing on a seat, safely between Mum's knees. Isabella began tapping on a metal window frame. No glass, just fresh air and some thick safety rails. Isabella tapped again. I gave it a go, and Isabella tapped again. We worked up a rhythm, tub thumping on the train. This was exciting stuff. We hadn't even left the station.

    This is the thing about family events. The kids always give you a fresh take on the world, allowing you to see it through simple innocent eyes.

    We were thrown off-balance, as the train lurched off the mark with a powerful determined thrust. Isabella was a little intimidated by the sudden jolt. A quick cuddle from Mum, and she was back at the window. Tap, tap. Reaching up to a rail, tap, tap, stretching up to another rail tap, tap, tap, then working her way down the rails again. Mesmerised, I joined in and again we were tub thumping, this time on the move. 

    We looked down deep valleys filled with tall trees. Not just any trees. We are within the southern perimeter of Sherbrooke Forest with rainforest known for its native Mountain Ash trees. These towering eucalyptus trees are the tallest flowering plants in the world.

    Many kids extended their arms and legs outside the carriage, balanced around the open window frames. Some of the kids looked over 50 years old. I guess everyone is a kid when you board the Puffing Billy.

    Approaching a tall towering wooden Trestle Bridge, eyes and cameras focused on the marvel. Built in 1899 - it has had some restoration work since - the railway bridge has piers (tree trunks) up to 11 metres high, in 6 metre spans. To top that off, it has a curving radius - some call it a horseshoe bridge - allowing it to align with the next hill.

    Onwards we choofed, with a slow puffing sound, more pronounced on downhill braking than uphill chugs. We waved back at onlookers at each road crossing, and then it happened! One of the girls got separated from her shoe. Fortunately the shoe fell outside, and she fell into the train. That was the last we were going to see of that shoe.

    The train puffed into the Lakeside station. Preparing to get out and wander over to the railway cafe, prams were prepared and cameras tucked away. Lo and behold, a cheerful fellow in overalls, sporty a generous white beard, came waltzing down the platform. One arm stretched high, holding a girl's shoe, he proudly returned it with a beaming smile. Part of a team of over 900 volunteers, he was following the train in a small fire patrol trolley. He stopped to collect her shoe and now returned it. Magic. The most fun you can have outside driving a BMW round twisty roads.

    John Shreeve | Member #579
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 2 Apr 2024 8:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If that looks like a long event title let’s break it down a little.

    The bikes are of the human or electric assist variety but certainly not your common or garden sort. Kaos Custom Bikes are the sponsor with over 30 years experience, a highly equipped workshop and the skills and the tools to make your custom builds and repairs hassle free. Andy “Kaos” Oosterweghel is a Founding Member of our club and a dab hand behind the wheel. For this event he was working 3 jobs; sponsor, race car developer and driving instructor. Good job he is fit.


    Although the event was primarily to provide a “safe” (in every sense) introduction to motorsport, either as a competitor or an official, for women men were also welcome and taking part. But, we had a good turn out of ladies which was very encouraging.

    The Come and Try part is, as the name suggests an opportunity to try track driving without any pressure but, most importantly, with instructors on hand and in car. Not everyone uses these sessions for pure track driving – one can also improve on road driving skills and techniques. In deed, the first part of the instruction is how to sit in your car properly. Sounds basic but many get it wrong.

    The day is not timed and the atmosphere friendly and supportive. Everyone is there to have fun and learn.

    A special bonus was pace laps behind the Racer Industries proper pace car. So cool. We were very lucky, and grateful, to have the use of this vehicle.

    We were pleased to be able to support 3 young driver with one scholarship and two gift vouchers donated by the Shannon family, the main prize going to Emily Trainor.

    We were also proud to provide Royce Lyne, a young member of our club with great talent and potential, with sponsorship towards his Toyota 86 Academy campaign.

    As always, a great bunch of volunteers ran the event which was quite tasking, especially for the flag marshals as the temperature crept up and the day wore on.

  • 2 Apr 2024 7:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The usual “taste of Easter” seems to be hot cross buns (now available from Christmas) and chocolate eggs. Over recent years I have added French pastries to my personal list thanks to Flavours Patisserie being the meeting point for our Good Friday coffee and cars meeting raising money for the Royal Childrens Hospital’s Good Friday Appeal.

    True to the meeting format people came and went during the morning bringing along a great selection of cars, BMW and non BMW, of all shapes and sizes.  As well as our members quite a few passing public came by for a look and a chat.

    The food and drink on offer from Flavours was exceptional, making the effort to be there very worthwhile.

    With some raffle prizes (yes, more chocolate and other things) and donations into the collection buckets we raised $1184 which, when added to other donations on the web page, brought the grand total to $2555 which is a stunning result.

    Thanks to Nella and Adrian for selling and collecting and many others for helping out. Olivia was in charge of the mobile collection bucket in the smallest BMW (just!) on site (but electric).

    Click here to see more photos

  • 2 Apr 2024 10:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Of the 425,055 attendances at the Australian Grand Prix this year I reckon only those made by Ferrari fans resulted in happier days than my 4 days there.

    Although the larger crowds did make watching the racing a bit harder at the busy times it also made for a great atmosphere. Friendly, happy, well behaved and generally having a good time in one another’s company.

    We had a terrific line up of cars in our display thanks to our wonderful members being prepared to bump their cars in on Wednesday morning and leave them there until bump out late Sunday evening.  I was particularly grateful for the quiet patience of our members having to wait to leave on Sunday for no obvious reason. Some took the option to return on Monday morning to get their cars.

    We were privileged to have a glorious XM on loan from Melbourne BMW and it attracted a lot of attention. 

    In fact, the interest shown in all of our display was, in the words of one member, “over-whelming”. For considerable periods we had a group of people in front of every car in our display. I would have taken a photo but I was busy the whole time answering questions and engaging with other enthusiasts, BMW or otherwise.  There were plenty of other club displays to look at too.

    Whether you enjoyed the main race probably depends on who you support but there was plenty of other track action to keep one occupied (although I did not get to see much). Being close to the action, as we are lucky to be in Albert Park, certainly refreshes the memory as to just how fast the cars are on track – something lost on TV. The sensation even away from the track’s edge is fantastic.

    A significant contingent of our members were among the 1,.000 + who volunteered in various roles, scrutineering, flag marshals, paddock marshals and more. Some were required to report for duty at 5:30 am, others out in whatever the weather throws up. Those of us merely watching are very grateful to these volunteers, without whom the event could not happen.

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