Last weekend, at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, BMW held the very first M Festival in North America. Following up events that had taken place in Germany, Japan, and South Africa, the latest round was a smash success, with over 4,300 tickets sold. The two-day festival included nightly musical performances, which followed up on days full of exhilarating driving action. There were a host of different activities for those of varied interests, and from the statistics, which include 186 tires being expended, it seems like most were well attended.
Core experience activities like the autocross, which featured models such as the X2 M35i, M340i and Z4 M40i, were complemented with others like hot laps in an M5, and an off-road experience in an X3 or X4 M40i. Those looking to get a bit more involved could also drag race in an M850i, drift an M4, or participate in an on-track lead-follow behind the wheel of an M2 Competition. Current BMW owners, and more specifically M owners, were also treated to their own events. A lead-follow for M cars was held at the driver development track, with eligibles models that included the M2, M4, M5, M6, X5 M and X6 M. All BMW models were eligible for a show and shine concours of sorts, and to cap things off, there were also parade laps that were open to all.
If you’re curious as to why BMW chose to hold the first North American M Festival in Canada as opposed to the U.S., AutoGuide makes a good point in identifying Canada as one of M’s strongest markets. Even with a long, brutal winter in most of the country, along with a small population, M cars sell better in Canada than in other much larger markets like China and Japan, with only the U.S., U.K., and Germany seeing more new M car deliveries, all of which are major BMW markets to begin with. According to M development chief Markus Flasch, “There’s a passion you feel for M Sport [in Canada], it’s a strong community for performance cars in general.”
The detailed statistics of the event are impressive in their own right: 4,314 tickets sold, 75 M vehicles on hand, 40 used for on-track experience, and 3,054 track experiences enjoyed (the instructors were busy), 1,200 hot laps, 371 show and shine participants, 394 cars in the parade laps, and 186 tires spent.
We’ll keep you posted on when BMW decides to bring the M Festival tour a bit closer to home.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]