Close to 500 BMW CCA members and families descended on Upstate South Carolina Friday, kicking off the fourth BimmerLife MiX Enthusiast Weekend. While the name suggests the highlighted M, i, and X BMW vehicles, the weekend celebrates an amazing mix of all things BMW.
The three-day event began with a buffet of options for members, getting underway at 8:30 a.m. at the BMW Performance Center. Other options for the day included the X Chapter scenic drive, BMW Test Drives, the Griot’s car wash bays, wine tasting, and tours of The Ultimate Driving Museum. The night topped off with a MiXer—see what we did there?—at 13 Stripes Brewery. (Bonus tip: if you’re in the area and need a cool photo backdrop, that’s it.)
While these events certainly dispersed the hundreds of attendees, more than 125 convened at the Performance Center. There they had their own smorgasbord of driving options including the off-road course, the timed mini-course, track-time in M3s and M4s, hot laps with Mike Renner, and the infamous timed autocross.
Everyone was a winner, but the timed autocross did crown three winners. While about 75 percent of the attendees were there for their first time, the winners used their experience to their advantage. Homefield advantage must have gone to local Sandlapper Chapter member Jesus Thiele who came in third place. He’s been to the Performance Center almost twenty times, but enjoyed the difference with a group like this. “With MiX, I get to see friends I see maybe once a year at these events,” Thiele says. “I can come here locally, but with MiX here, it’s great to see so many people from the many different states and watch them have all this fun.”
Second place went to another M School veteran, Rafael Garces, just a half second quicker. “I’ve been in the club 38 years and love events like these,” National Capital Chapter member, Garces says. “I’m a contract instructor and help with Street Survival, but every time I come to any program with the Performance Center, I learn something new.”
He might actually still have a little more to learn, as his impressive time was still a tenth of second off the first-place finish of Mark Arnold. The Buckeye Chapter president made the journey to MiX from Columbus, Ohio. “I’ve been in the club fifteen years and been here maybe four or five times,” he says. “We came for the cars but stay for the people.”
One person who has seen a lot of those people is long time instructor Adam Seaman. “We’ve had the BMW CCA out today—125 people for what we call a Free Flow program,” Seaman says. “It’s been great seeing everyone and their smiling faces enjoying the new BMWs we have to offer as well as all the instruction. It’s great to have folks around who are as enthusiastic about the brand as we are. We always look forward to this group coming. If you’ve heard about it in the past and haven’t been yet, make you come out and see us. We’d love to see you.”
The natural next stop for many leaving the Performance Center was The Ultimate Driving Museum, located within ear shot of the track. Michael Mitchell with the BMW CCA Foundation led two tours through the exhibit for the many members who visited. Foundation Trustee Jackie Bechek watched the groups wind through the 56 motorcycles and five cars (powered by motorcycle engines) in the museum’s latest exhibit, BMW Motorcycles: A Century of Innovation. “With the MiX event, we’re seeing a lot of visitors who have not seen or maybe even known about The Ultimate Driving Museum yet,” Bechek says. “Even if people might not own motorcycles, they recognize that these bikes are instrumental to the history and success of BMW. It’s also great to see people who have long understood the importance of our Street Survival program who come here and see we’re all part of the same big family.”
Further down the road, the BMW CCA headquarters served as another central meeting place for more than registration. Members could enjoy wine tasting and games, clean up their cars at the Griot’s Garage car washing bay, bid on items in the BMW CCA Foundation charity auction, and shop at the member store. After a busy afternoon punctuated with our own automotive highlight reel of cars coming and going around the headquarters building, members again gathered for the evening MiXer at 13 Stripes Brewery.
The Griot’s Garage Caffeine & Gasoline is at the top of the schedule for Saturday. After a nice morning outside, there will be a series of seminars and events on site indoors and around the headquarters. Stay tuned for updates and highlights of those in our following update!—Kyle Van Hoften