• Jun 21, 2007
... and with good reason. Most drivers learned from misinformed acquaintances, and the few that sought out professional instruction did so because it was required, sometimes getting antiquated methods in the process. BMW wants to right those wrongs. Well, sort of.

The Bavarian's focus is set squarely on pushing its advanced driver training courses, which utilize on track instruction to teach students the finer aspects of car control. The curriculum includes the prerequisite skid-pad, lane change exercises, hot laps and other methods that give drivers a better idea of the dynamics involved in piloting a ton-and-a-half lethal weapon.

That's all fine and dandy, but studies have shown that drivers, especially those wet behind the ears, who take such advanced classes are more prone to risky behavior when they make it back onto public roads. We're all for advanced instruction – sometimes using methods best left on the track – but there are better options available that focus on the task of day-to-day driving.

BMW's "Relearn To Drive" press release is after the jump, and be sure to look out for some of their print ads and YouTube clips due out in the next few weeks.

PRESS RELEASE

BMW UNVEILS NEW ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN FOR BMW PERFORMANCE DRIVING SCHOOL

"Relearn to Drive" Encourages Drivers to Consider New Skills Needed for Today

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – June 20, 2007... With a new campaign featuring offbeat characters from driving lessons past, BMW of North America will encourage drivers to consider how times have changed since their first lesson – and who taught them. With elements such as an independent, non-branded micro-site and viral videos, BMW of North America tackles more than just what car to drive as it launches "Relearn to Drive," a creative campaign for the BMW Performance Driving School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with Austin-based GSD&M. The campaign, which begins Wednesday, June 20, aims to bring the BMW Performance Driving School to life by posing the question, "Who taught you to drive?" The campaign will drive people to visit www.RelearnToDrive.com, which is centered on the idea that much of what drivers originally learned was incorrect or no longer applies, and the BMW Performance Driving School is the place to right those wrongs.

The campaign will appear in select auto and lifestyle publications, such as Roundel, Autoweek and Road and Track; online via driving enthusiast sites, such as AutoWeek.com and RacingSchools.com; video sites, including YouTube and Google Video; and on postcards distributed at BMW events nationwide this summer. The campaign will also appear in The Onion – in print and online – as part of a sponsorship.

The "Relearn to Drive" web site features videos of nine eccentric, over-the-top characters that capture the multitude of ways people may have been taught to drive, including several listed below:
• Mom insists that her son must always use two feet when driving, despite what his father tells him;
• Dad, nervous with clipboard and checklist in hand, gives his son a strict lesson;
• Grandpa, dressed in his old military uniform, says it's time teach his grandson to be a man, and driving a car is "just like driving a submarine – except the car isn't packed with torpedoes."

Visitors to the site will also be able to send humorous email postcards with video to friends and family – customized with a link to the video or just the video – letting them know that perhaps their driving could use some work. In a separate section of the web site, information and high-quality video footage of the BMW Performance Driving School in action will be available.

The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the BMW Performance Center and BMW Performance Driving School – a 134-acre, state-of-the-art driving facility equipped with closed courses, water walls, a skid pad and an off-road course – as the embodiment of the BMW brand experience for minimal financial commitment. The Driving School offers several programs, including one- and two-day Driving Schools, one- and two-day Teen Driving schools, one- and two-day M Schools for high-performance driving, and an Advanced M School at the Virginia International Raceway to learn highly aggressive driving techniques on professional courses.

"Many drivers on the road today have not considered just how times – and cars – have changed since they learned to drive, and this campaign will serve as an entertaining wake-up call that perhaps we could all stand to learn something new," said Jack Pitney, Vice President, Marketing, BMW of North America. "Increasing awareness of the programs we offer at the BMW Performance Driving School will let people know there is a fun way to hone those skills we all may have to use one day, no matter what kind of car they drive."

"BMW's commitment to great ideas goes beyond engineering the best automobiles – they're dedicated to improving the entire driving experience," said John McGrath, Vice President of Communications for GSD&M. "This interactive campaign is a humorous look at how most of us got started behind the wheel and highlights the opportunity to relearn those skills and upgrade the pleasure of driving."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I was looking throughout the various courses and the new driver coarse deosn't seem to be huge on skid pad, but proper braking, and seat position, to get those idiots to stop laying the seat all the way back, and pushing the seat so far that you can barely touch the pedals. I am all for taking their advanced class, just to learn some additional skills. I am also of the belief that drivers ed is not sufficient and there should be required driving courses for a new driver and then follow-up courses throughout a drivers lifetime. Or at least required driving courses for those idiots that can't stop wrecking their car and other peoples cars because they can't drive.
      far jr
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am all for much more stringent driving evaluations and training requirements. Perhaps even re-evaluation every ten years (or more frequent after age 60-65).

      Good driving skills have saved my butt more than once as well. I "played" with cars and ATVs in snow, dirt, and loose gravel quite a bit growing up. That helped create many automatic response instincts to real world driving situations. I would love to learn more if it was effortless and economical to do so.

      I also see where an already invincible minded teenager with a green license coming from a skid pad training course would feel even more emboldened to test the limits of thier ride. After all they have just been trained to control an out-of-control car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Saab has been doing this for years, if you buy a new Aero-spec model, you get to attend their advanced driving courses for free.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can hear everyone I work with already. "Driving school? why, I already know how to drive. I had drivers ed in highschool." Sorry, American's don't want to learn .They get upset if say they don't already know what they are doing. It will never happen BMW.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Your "studies have shown" link simply links to someone's opinion with no references. And as we all know, opinions are like @$$holes - everyone's got one, and they usually stink.

      My personal *experience* has been that a (brief) stint on the skid pad saved me from a rear-end collision when my car unexpectedly slid during a very slow speed stop at a red light. If it wasn't for the skid pad experience, I would have been totally flustered and probably hit the car in front of me. There was probably a spill on the road, and no degree of "advanced" driving could have prevented that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Hey Gents,

        The reason I threw the link up to ADA is that they used to have the exact study -- done out of England -- available for download. I used to have the .PDF on my computer, but I don't think it made the switch with me last year. If I can talk to Mr. Wren over at ADA or get another copy, I'll have it online.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Solo Racer - the problem with those skills is that they're used so infrequently, whereas taking a course that focuses on on-the-road skills (advanced hazard detection, percepetion and decision making, etc.) you can save many more lives and reduce crashes. Those courses are great for car control, but they do little to teach crash avoidance.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I found the pronouncements by Advanced Drivers of America, which seems to be some kind of school, to be vague generalizations. ["Research in various countries has shown, in particular, that providing skid training for young drivers tends only to increase their already misplaced belief that they are "good" drivers."] What countries and when? Studied by whom?

        And what advanced, on-road skills can't be taught on a track or skid pad? A race track or large, unobstructed parking lot [just try finding one of those] is the right place to teach threshold braking and skid control.