While we are in uncertain and difficult times, sometimes it is necessary for us to take a short respite from helping others and to look after ourselves. For car enthusiasts, this usually means blowing off some steam at the track or attending a local Cars & Coffee show with our friends—but just because we may not be able to do those things does not mean that we stop being enthusiasts.
In an effort to combat enthusiasts’ boredom, promote social-distancing, and encourage healthy habits during these times, the BMW Lifestyle team has recently taken it upon themselves to make sure that BMW aficionados have plenty to do—and naturally we had to sprinkle in some of my own recommendations.
1. Get BMW On A Screen
While we’re sure sure most of us would rather be behind the wheel of our favorite Bimmers, watching them on the silver screen never gets old. If you recall, BMW is no stranger to big-screen cameos, and seeing an F80 M3 jump a causeway like the one in Mission:Impossible rarely disappoints.
If movies aren’t your gig, BMW’s social-media platforms provide numerous opportunities for you to personalize the desktop of your computer or smartphone—so you can have your favorite BMW with you wherever you go, or behind all those windows as you work from home.
2. Listen To Everything BMW
Maybe you want to hear the joy of driving. In that case, BMW’s new weekly “Changing Lanes” podcast is a great way to learn something about BMW, through comedic discussions centered around technology, lifestyle, design, and more. Hosts Sara and Jonathan also do a great job humoring ridiculous questions, like “Are you allowed to polish your car with your underwear?” and covering amusing topics, like my personal favorite, “Absurd Traffic Laws Around the World.”
Or if you’d rather, you may also decide to spend some time on YouTube listening to your favorite BMW race-car exhaust sounds—from an E89 Z4 GT3’s glorious P65B44 V8 roar to William F1’s German-powered V10 chassis. We can all agree, exhaust-sound compilations never get old.
3. Enrich Your Knowledge of BMW
It never hurts to learn something new, and now is a great time to learn more about BMW’s history, ask other enthusiasts about their builds on online forums, and get all of your DIY questions answered. What does the roundel actually represent? Which BMW aircraft engine set an unofficial world altitude record? Is there a difference between a “Bimmer” and “Beemer?” Browse through BimmerLife articles, online BMW literature, and a multitude of other online resources, and you may just find yourself heading to a future car meet with a new fact to rattle off to your fellow enthusiasts.
4. Sim Racing: A Virtual Track Fix
Although there’s no substitute for the smell of burned gasoline and rubber, the sim-racing community is bigger than ever right now. Sim racing is a virtual simulation of motorsport competition that implements real-world physics and mechanics into complex driving simulators, which both amateur and professional drivers can then use to train (for live races) or compete (for eSport). With the BMW Motorsport Sim Racing 2020 season now underway, you can find numerous races online, with quite a few upcoming M2 CS Racing events set to take place. While you may prefer to watch re-airings of non-virtual races, it is nice to shake it up with some live sim track-battles, featuring some of BMW’s own motorsport professionals.
A number of BMW Motorsport drivers are also getting their feet wet in sim racing now that tracks have been shut and events cancelled. M8 GTEs swept the podium in the MSA Sebring SuperSaturday sim race, and Philipp Eng recently commented on how valuable competing with other pros around the world from the comfort of one’s home can be.
5. Get Creative
If you’re looking for something to get the whole family involved, why not create something? BMW suggests baking an edible Bimmer, but if you’re daunted by such an intimidating task, drawing or painting a picture of your beloved daily-driver works just as well. Regardless of your skill level, expressing your creative side is a great way to unwind, and you can even hang your finished masterpiece in the garage, on the fridge, or wherever your heart desires. Or, if you would rather put the pens and pencils down, the BMW Individual Manufaktur Visualizer is a great place to create your very own digital rendering of the Ultimate Driving Machine, from just about every hue, shade, and palette imaginable. This is also a great time to work your way through and post-process that backlog of photos from the last five years’ worth of events that are sitting on your hard drive—never waste a good opportunity to get organized!
6. Learn German
Das ist (ein) rad. That is a wheel? Yes, and rads are indeed rad—and so is learning German. While I personally enjoy learning and practicing foreign languages, not everyone wants to commit to learning an entirely new language. But you do not have to learn an entire language for it to benefit you—sometimes even knowing a few words is beneficial. As BMW enthusiasts, knowing even the smallest bit of German can be helpful in deciphering part names, numbers, and applications. That bag of expanding rivets with the label stück on it? That translates to piece. Original BMW Teil? Those are original BMW parts. It also allows you to communicate with an even broader community of enthusiasts!
7. Clean Your Car
I feel like this suggestion is a no-brainer for a lot of us. If you’re anything like me, you cannot stand a dirty car, and having one sit in your driveway or garage with water spots and wheels caked with brake dust certainly isn’t the best feeling in the world. Now’s the time to take pride in your ride, your significant other’s, and whoever else’s car you are quarantining with. Suds it up, hose it down, and give it a nice wax and clay. What’s it gonna do, get dirty sitting in the garage?
The best part? BMW CCA sponsor Griot’s Garage makes it easy and fun. They offer easy-to-use kits for everything from wheels to glass or leather, and their website is a one-stop shop for everything you might be lacking. BMW CCA members save 15% on all Griot’s Garage liquid car-care products—visit the Membership Benefits Discounts page to learn more.
8. (Finally) Organize That Shelf
As we’ve mentioned, this downtime is a great opportunity to straighten things out. Social-distancing has provided many of us the time to clean and organize, and what better place to start than the garage? Sweep through your messy socket sets, fish out that unopened package of bushings from underneath the tool bench, organize your Roundel archive, and establish an area to display your BMW (and BMW CCA) memorabilia—a clean space is almost guaranteed to boost your mood. While you’re at it, consider making a donation pile for those in need, so when donation establishments properly reopen, you can give select items a new home to those that may need them.
These may be difficult times, but we can still spread joy, whether by doing something from this list or one of your own.—Malia Murphy
[Photos Courtesy Malia Murphy, BMW, and BMW AG.]