UPDATE: BMW North America has issued the following statement regarding the ban:

The Genesee Valley BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA) Chapter created and published an unauthorized policy banning BMW's with Driver Aids from participating in their High Performance Driving Education (HPDE) schools. The national BMW CCA office does not share their opinion and is discussing the issue with the chapter.

BMW of North America LLC. is working closely with the national BMW CCA office to educate and develop a nationwide procedure for including BMWs with driver aids in HPDE schools. Advanced driver aids like Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Detection do not affect the ability of the driver to control the car on-track at high speed. In addition, the systems can be shut off so that they are also not a distraction to a novice student.

Some drivers may find Frontal Collision Warning w/City Collision Mitigation to be intrusive on-track but this system can be adjusted in the iDrive menus to warn the driver later or completely shut off by pressing and holding the Driver Aids button on the dash until the green light goes out. The system defaults to ON upon re-start so this switch would need to be pressed at the beginning of each on-track run. It should be noted that Driver Aids Button in the OFF mode also indicates that all other Driver Aids installed on the car are also shut off.


Can automotive enthusiasts live with lane-keeping assist and other similarly intrusive driver aids? These electronic nannies have been designed to improve everyday safety on the road, but on a racetrack they can prove problematic. These assist systems are not designed to work their magic in track conditions, but rather in normal driving situations, with the possibility to "take over" from the driver. As such, they have such an effect on the car's behavior that a BMW Car Club of America chapter is black-flagging all such cars from its events, no matter whether the systems can be switched off.

The Genesee Valley Chapter, in Monroe County, New York, is banning cars with automatic emergency braking and/or lane-keeping assistance systems from its track-day events, as Bimmerfile reports.

To quote GVC: "Some of these new driver aids may adversely impact the use of such vehicles on a racetrack. In particular, cars with 'automatic emergency braking' and/or 'lane-keeping assistance' systems may behave in unpredictable and undesirable ways on a racetrack.

"Because there is so much uncertainty about how these systems behave in a variety of conditions," the announcement continued, cars with those systems are banned, "even if these systems may be disabled by the driver."

The key takeaway here is the last sentence, "Even if these systems may be disabled by the driver." GVC simply doesn't trust the systems enough in track conditions, so the only sure way to override the assist systems is to drive a vehicle that hasn't been fitted with them in the first place. As BMW expects to make such systems standard equipment in the next five years, this could have implications for anyone with an Ultimate Self-Driving Machine who wants to participate in a BMWCCA event.

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