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BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

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  • 31 May 2024 7:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    National Motoring Heritage Day was formed by the Australian Historic Motoring Federation in 2006 to get all car club members drive their vehicles around their own area - city, town, etc - to show the strength of the car movement in Australia.

    Sadly, this fine idea has often been converted into static car displays which are mainly attended by those already in the classic car movement - although the display cars do have to drive to the show and back.

    This year the AOMC (the peak body for motoring clubs in Victoria) got a bit back to basics with a couple of cavalcades as well as some shows.

    Our plans to run our own cavalcade/drive - which we have done for the last two years - got badly off track when the proposed end venue - E30 Racing at Phillip Island - was cancelled so the track can be re-surfaced (again).

    Fortunately, in my role as an AOMC committee member, I had assisted a Geelong based club organise a cavalcade taking in the Geelong and Torquay water fronts and cafe strips, passing as many eyeballs as possible.

    So we switched our club event to take part in that.

    The start point was a well attended monthly coffee and cars style event from which about 40 cars departed for the cavalcade drive to the Great Ocean Road Chocoltaire and Ice Creamery, which not only has ample parking and quite a crowd of people but some very nice food and coffee.

    One advantage of this arrangement is that there were many obviously old cars in the group, some of veteran status, which are more liklely to cause heads to turn - which is the objective. And I am glad to report that heads certainly did turn, thumbs up were given, and people came to look.

    Our members brought a wide range of heritage vehicles, not all BMW, all appreciated and we all had a very enjoyable day out, just making it to the end before some rain came.

    Lawrence Glynn


  • 31 May 2024 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Dear members,  

    By now you all should have received your copy of edition 6 of our wonderful annual magazine, idrive.  What a fabulous edition as usual, thanks to all who contributed.  If you did not receive yours, check your profile on our database and make sure your address is correct.  We have had a few returned already and Jo has contacted those who neglected to update their change of address and they are now updated.  Please make sure all your personal and vehicle details are updated at least once a year. If you didn’t get your copy, come to an event and we will have copies on hand to give you.

    Looking back at May

    May started off with one of our favourite events, our annual Presentation Dinner. It saw us attending our charity night for Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre at WestWaters Entertainment Complex with Guest Speaker Jack Perkins.  We set this event up to raise money for Peter Mac and what a great result we had, with over $2,000 donated before the night started and then raising over $6,300 by the end of the night.  There were lots of raffle and silent auction items - thank you to all who donated, too many to mention and always worried I will forget someone. The food was great and Jack Perkins was very interesting and so giving of his time on the night. You can view the photos from the night in our gallery. The event was also a test for the BMW Clubs Australia Nationals next year to see how WestWaters will function with a big event. Safe to say, we were very happy. The Nationals next year will be an event not to miss.

    7 May was our members meeting at Berwick BMW.  We had a great night. It's always good to check out what our sponsors and dealership have to offer our members.

    9 May was our latest drop-in-donut night in Geelong.  These nights are great for our members on the other side of the pond to catch up and talk about cars and what is happening in the club.

    On 11 May we had round 2 or our Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship at Sandown.  There was a huge turn out, starting off a little damp but clearing up and to a glorious Autumn sunny day.  It was so much fun out there for all that came and did some laps.

    19 May we had a large group of our club members join in the drive around the Geelong precinct for some fun with their cars for the National Motoring Heritage Cavalcade.

    Looking ahead

    June is upon us and nearly half the year as gone already.  It's been such a great first half.

    2 June was to be our Kaos Custom Bikes Come and Try at Calder but for reasons beyond our control this event had to be cancelled. I will be spending two days at the BMW Clubs Australia AGM instead.

    4 June is our Outlaw Slot Car Evening Members meeting.  It's something different and a bit of fun to be had.  Registrations are going well and there are still a few spots left if you are wanting to join in.

    On 9 June we will be doing a drive on the Mornington Peninsula, starting from Pure Peninsula Honey, then taking the scenic route to Pig and Whistle for lunch.

    15 June is Round 3 of our Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship, this time at Calder Park.  Due to cancelling the come and try day, we have made a come and try group within this event for those who missed out.  If you are wanting to join us as an official be sure to email and express your interest.  We will also be doing parade laps at lunch time, so come out in your road car and join in the fun.  Registration is essential - use this link to register.

    23 June will be our drive out to Trafalgar to the Holden Museum.  Lunch will be a BBQ in the function room attached to the museum so we will have plenty of time to enjoy what they have there for us.

    Check out the calendar as we are uploading events all the time and we would hate you to miss out.

    As we head into winter we do less events each week, but there are still some fun events coming up for everyone to come together and have some fun.

    Dates to keep in your diary

    • 14 July - Karting Madness
    • 20 July - Christmas in July
    • 21 September - Black Rock House paranormal Investigation
    • 29 October - 6 November - Tasmania Driving Tour ‘The Northern Half’
    • 10 November - Hill Climb
    • 14 November - Annual General Meeting
    • 23 November - Challenge Bathurst
    • 8 December - Christmas Show and Shine - Cruden Farm

    Check out all events in the calendar here. 

    Other news

    As mentioned, on 2-3 June I will be attending the BMW Clubs Australia AGM in Melbourne.  This happens each year and we get to network with the other cub delegates from around Australia.  I will include my report on this in my June Presidents Report.

    Membership is still growing. We are welcoming quite a few new members each month and it’s lovely seeing new faces come to events to join in with us. Welcome to all those new members.

    We now have the second run of the new long sleeved cotton motorsport shirt in stock if you want to place an order. They were so popular we sold out the first run in weeks of them landing. Have a look on our web site and place your orders. We can post them or any of our merchandise out or bring them to the next event, if you like..

    Jo is now slowly coming back into the club office but will be on staggered days.  Please call first if you are needing anything from her or want to drop in for a chat or look at the club rooms.

    CPS renewals are still going well using the online service. It makes it very easy to renew, so keep up the good work and thank you for helping make our life a little easier.

    Thank you all for making this the great club it is, I look forward to seeing you at an event somewhere soon, until then take care out there.

    Graeme Bell | President

    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.

    PO Box 81, Tyabb VIC 3913
    Incorporated in Victoria #A0102695G
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc is a member of: BMW Clubs Australia and the BMW Clubs International Council
    Motorsport Australia Affiliated Motorsport Club

  • 25 May 2024 3:25 PM | Anonymous

    I was honoured (and very surprised) when you expressed your appreciation of me, by awarding me New Member of the Year. It can be said that an award from your peers is the best.  I am still amazed that having a great time with the club during the 2023 year was worthy of an award with such prestige.

    Your approval makes any humble efforts I have made on behalf of this wonderful club feel worthwhile and I am happy that you see me as a valuable club member. 

    My thanks must go to the committee who facilitated such a fine evening and to those who kept score of all points accrued by those in contention.

    I am humbled by the honour, and I thank you one and all.

    Terry Lane | Member #965
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 22 May 2024 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    The 20th BMW Art Car celebrated its world premiere on Tuesday evening at the Centre Pompidou in the French capital, Paris. The internationally renowned New York artist Julie Mehretu designed the #20 BMW M Hybrid V8, which will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) on 15th/16th June, as a “performative painting” based on one of her artworks.

    The 20th BMW Art Car celebrated its world premiere on Tuesday evening at the Centre Pompidou in the French capital, Paris. The internationally renowned New York artist Julie Mehretu designed the #20 BMW M Hybrid V8, which will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) on 15th/16th June, as a “performative painting” based on one of her artworks. The event, attended by several hundred invited guests, was also attended by the artist, as well as Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Human Resources and Real Estate.

    “The BMW Art Cars are an essential part of our global cultural commitment. For almost 50 years, we have been collaborating with artists who are just as fascinated by mobility and design as they are by technology and motorsports. Julie Mehretu's vision for a racing car is an extraordinarily strong contribution to our BMW Art Cars series,” said Zipse.

    Mehretu explained her approach: “The whole BMW Art Car project is about invention, about imagination, about pushing limits of what can be possible. I don’t think of this car as something you would exhibit. I am thinking of it as something that will race at Le Mans. It’s a performative painting. My BMW Art Car was created in close collaboration with motorsport and engineering teams. It is only completed once the race is over.” 

    A performative painting is created.

    Space, movement and energy have always been central motifs in Mehretu's work. For the design of the 20th BMW art car, she transformed a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional representation for the first time, with which she succeeded in bringing dynamism into form. Mehretu used the colour and form vocabulary of her monumental painting “Everywhen” (2021 - 2023) as a starting point for her design. The work is currently on view at the artist’s major retrospective at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice (ITA) and will subsequently become part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York (USA), to which it has been gifted.

    Its abstract visual form results from digitally altered photographs, which are superimposed in several layers of dot grids, neon-coloured veils and the black markings characteristic of Mehretu's work. “In the studio where I had the model of the BMW M Hybrid V8 I was just sitting in front of the painting and I thought ‘What would happen if this car seemed to go through that painting and becomes affected by it?’” Mehretu said. “The idea was to make a remix, a mash-up of the painting. I kept seeing that painting kind of dripping into the car. Even the kidneys of the car inhaled the painting.” 

    BMW Art Cars with Le Mans history come together at the Concorso d’Eleganza.

    The fusion of image and vehicle was realised with the help of 3D mapping, with which the motif was transferred to the contours of the vehicle. The elaborate foiling allows for the fully designed BMW M Hybrid V8 to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. BMW M Motorsport works drivers Sheldon van der Linde (RSA), Robin Frijns (NED) and René Rast (GER) will enter the 20th BMW Art Car with start number 20 at the Circuit de la Sarthe on 15th June. Like them, Mehretu is also eagerly awaiting the race: “I went to see the BMW M Hybrid V8 race at Daytona, and that experience was overwhelming. Designers, engineers, aerodynamicists and so many other creative minds are working on taking this vehicle to its extreme. When it goes out on the racetrack now, so many dreams will be fulfilled.”

    Leading up to race day, Mehretu's BMW Art Car will make an appearance at the Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa d'Este in Lake Como (ITA) on its way to Le Mans. As part of the exhibition for historic vehicles organised by the BMW Group and the Grand Hotel Villa d'Este, Mehretu herself will present the 20th edition of the BMW Art Car Collection. It will be featured in the grounds of Villa Erba together with the BMW Art Cars by Alexander Calder (1975), Frank Stella (1976), Roy Lichtenstein (1977), Andy Warhol (1979), Jenny Holzer (1999) and Jeff Koons (2010), which also made their race debuts at Le Mans.

    Further statements on the 20th BMW Art Car:

    Franciscus van Meel (CEO of BMW M GmbH): “Our return to Le Mans is spectacular for several reasons. For the first time since our victory in 1999, exactly 25 years ago, we are competing with the BMW M Hybrid V8 in the top class of the world's biggest endurance race. We are facing the highest-class competition currently available in racing in the Hypercar category. With more than 300,000 spectators, the 24 Hours of Le Mans also provides an overwhelming stage for the launch of the 20th BMW Art Car by Julie Mehretu. It stands in a great tradition of rolling works of art that have competed at Le Mans. I find the design fantastic and can't wait to see how it will captivate all participants at this mega-event.” 

    Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “The deployment of the 20th BMW Art Car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is as much an honour for us as it is a motivation. We at BMW M Motorsport are all aware of the enormous significance that BMW Art Cars have in the brand's racing history. Our goal for the weekend is for the #20 BMW M Hybrid V8 to attract attention, not only with its great design, but also with its strong performance on the racetrack. Robin Frijns, René Rast, and Sheldon van der Linde are outstanding drivers who have already proved this season that they can fight for top results in the Hypercar class. We have prepared as best as possible for the season highlight and are determined to present ourselves and our cars in top form.”

    Vincent Vosse (Team Principal BMW M Team WRT): “It is an honour for BMW M Team WRT to be part of a project with such prestige. We have never done anything like this before, and it will be something very special to deploy this wonderful work of art at Le Mans. We will give everything to ensure that the 20th BMW Art Car finishes the race where it belongs.”

    Sheldon van der Linde: “First of all it’s a huge honour to be selected as one of the drivers for the 20th edition of the art car at my very first Le Mans 24 hour in our Hypercar. I love the bold graffiti look that Julie Mehretu has gone for with our art car. I’m a huge fan of abstract art and have tried to incorporate her style into a one-off helmet design I will have for Le Mans. If the car is as fast and bold as it looks, we’re in for a very good weekend.”


  • 21 May 2024 3:18 PM | Anonymous

  • 14 May 2024 3:01 PM | Anonymous

    Event date: 11 May 2024

    Wow, what a day. Cloudy skies and a wet track presented no promises as we entered Sandown Raceway in our 5 Series BMW. Unlike the other Come and Try Days I had attended, this was an AROCA Sprint Round, which meant that the sessions were timed. The first round came and went with the presence of a wet track, however, all was well under the guidance of Graeme Bell. In the second round, the first glimpses of sunshine arrived, drying up certain parts of the track. By the time of the third session, it was past 1 pm, and I was seated in the car with Shannon Cooper receiving top-notch training from an E30 driver. On the third lap I got a surprise when I noticed the black flag aimed at my car. Unaware of the issue, we entered the pit lane where we were informed that we weren’t allowed 2 passengers in the vehicle during the competition. After some negotiation, we were granted one more round with an instructor before I would have to drive by myself. Suddenly it felt like everything came crashing down. I went from driving on the track with exceptional guidance from some of the best to being chucked into the deep end with no headlights. But hey, you got to start someday right?

    Going into the solo round, I felt slightly nervous but confident in my abilities to control and handle the car. Focusing on spatial awareness and checking my mirrors in the first half of the day made me convinced that I would do okay. And let me tell you, I did more than okay. As soon as I entered the track and got into my driving rhythm, I completely forgot about the fact that I was driving by myself. Better than that, I achieved my fastest lap of the whole day in that final round!

    This goes to show that whilst things may be difficult and scary at first, it’s all about popping that blister and giving it a go for the first time. Because trust me when I say that I wouldn’t have gone out on my own if it wasn’t for the motorsport regulations for that particular competition.

    Claire Trainor | Member #1020
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 8 May 2024 3:09 PM | Anonymous

    Event date: 4 May 2024

    Our sixth presentation night took a new look this year with the night taking place at WestWaters Mercure Entertainment Complex in Caroline Springs. Part of the reason that the function was held there was that the venue is to be the hub of the Nationals next year to stay and have a good look at how the venue operates.

    I turned up mid afternoon to assist set up the night but the function room was already set up ready to go, the workers had been in early and were on their way to get dolled up in pink ready for the big night which was a fund raiser for the clubs chosen charity being the Peter McCullum Institute. Places had been set up and seats allocated.

    As we gathered it was noticeable that our President Graeme had got into the spirit and had his hair tinted pink for the occasion but both John and David and long pink wigs with John also wearing a Lei which he leant to Jack Perkins who through his race team Cooldrive had agreed to speak and did an hour presentation off the cuff including his early racing, diabetes, changes that his diabetes management caused in sport and the restoration of his father’s race cars which now forms the basis of his business interests when not driving in the endurance events. Jack is to partner James Coutney later in the year in the Snowy River Caravans sponsored car. In fact, Jack had called in on his way home from assisting to open a dealership at Traralgon and was very accommodating taking questions and making himself available for photos once he finished speaking.

    We also celebrated the winners of our Annual Show and Shine and last year’s Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship class winners, with Andy Kaos taking out the Championship, as well as our other major Awards, Member of the Year, John Shreeve, New Member of the Year, Terry Lane, Official of the Year, Simon de Lisle and President’s Award recipient, Jennifer Rose. We also Officially recognised the winner of our new young driver Behind the Wheel Scholarship, Claire Trainor.

    During the night we had brief breaks that we could get a refill or attend to the silent auction tables along the wall with a wide variety of items from pearls to books, to photography sessions up to 2 carbon bikes. so we would like to thank everyone that donated the auction items and those that took the time and sometimes return visits to the tables to secure their items. There was also a table of raffle prizes which quickly diminished at the end of the night. In all across several events we raised over $6,300 which is a fantastic achievement so far and thank all that contributed.

    The meals were really good considering the alternate menu with a variety across the 3 courses that allowed everyone to enjoy them although lack of food was not an issue as it was like having 2 mains and a dessert.

    A further highlight was the publishing of the next  idrive, which I have seen people at various events look at and expect that it is an official BMW publication at car shows etc and is a real credit to everyone that contributes stories and photos with the editing completed by Jess which is a huge task.

    After a successful and fast-moving night some of the members adjourned to a suite to have a quite refreshment and talk about how successful the night had been.

    It would be remiss to not thank all the different committees within that club that assist to organise and run events on our behalf. We are really spoilt and unless you see how other clubs run, tend to under appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes that allow us the variety and opportunities we have.

    Adrian White | Member #606
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 30 Apr 2024 5:46 PM | Anonymous

    Dear members,  

    Welcome to my April Report on everything going on in our Club. I just don’t know where the months are going, seems only yesterday I was doing last month’s report.

    It has again been a very busy month, with some huge events held across April.

    5 April - the month started with a visit to long time Sponsors, Peninsula BM in Mornington. It was a fantastic and informative night, and we couldn’t have asked for a better evening weather-wise to finish off our daylight savings outdoor events for the year. We had a coffee van onsite and Krispy’s Burgers for dinner and everyone loved them! Dean gave a great talk on the history of Peninsula BM then took everyone on a tour of the facility. Was great to have all the team on hand to meet too, as we usually only get to speak to them on the phone, great putting faces to voices.

    10th April – one of our biggest events for a long time. We visited new club Sponsors Walkinshaw Andretti United Racing, to see their fantastic facilities and what services they can provide for members. Not only do they run a Supercar team, they can also do engine rebuilds, race car preparation, component design and manufacture, all sorts of things! We had to close the event after only a few days of registrations, so it wouldn’t be too crowded. With over 60 members on hand it was a very interesting night, talking to each of the specialists in different areas of the business and a great talk from Darcy. Was great getting up close to their 2 Supercars as they were about to head to New Zealand for the next Supercar round and the Super2 cars getting ready for their next round. Dinner was provided by the club, as usual and a great night had by all.

    25-28 April – Another fantastic weekend away with our ANZAC Long Weekend trip to Beechworth. 17 cars headed off on Thursday morning, picking up a couple more on the way and then we met up with more members already up there. we enjoyed lots of twisty country roads and delicious meals all over the high country over the 4 days. Jo outdid herself organising the accommodation, it was just delightful and each of the places we had lunch or dinner was perfect. Peter’s trip book and drive routes were amazing, as always, don’t know how he does it, but he always leads us on the most amazing roads. Thanks Peter. The autumn colors were out in a blaze of color and some beautiful photos were taken of the cars lined up under a bunch of orange and red trees. We even had a little down time to do our own thing, explore the township or other sights, like woolshed falls. It was a fun weekend, and everyone had a ball, a few new members came along too and enjoyed meeting everyone on the trip. Pretty sure a few new friendships were made there, and we even picked up some new members at one of the stops when they saw all the BMWs arrive together.

    I must say thank you, again, to new Club Sponsors, Doncaster BMW, for loaning Jo and I the beautiful Alpina B4. What an amazing car! I am doing a write up on it for our blog, so keep an eye out for that. Suffice to say, it was the embodiment of Sheer Driving Pleasure! What a car, more than enough power and torque to handle the hills and overtaking and handled with all the refinement and comfort of a top of the line sports touring car.

    Looking ahead

    There are lots of events coming up on our always busy calendar to look forward to. There have been a few changes to the motorsport and driver training events forced on us by the resurfacing at Phillip Island closure so take note of our motorsport dates below.

    • 4 May - Our 6th Birthday Presentation Dinner, supporting Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute. It will be an epic night, one to look forward to indeed. We sold out before we reached the cut off date so it will be another fun night out and for a very worthy cause. I am told that if we reach $2500 in donations before the night I am going to turn up with pink hair! So watch out for the photos next week, might be some very funny pics to be seen. There will be a silent auction and raffle on the night too, so it will be great to see how much we can raise for Peter Mac this year.
    • 7 May - Berwick BMW members meeting, always great to drop in and see the Team at Berwick.
    • 9 May - Welcome to Winter, Drop in at Daniels Donuts – Geelong, these casual meetups are getting very popular.
    • 11 May - Round 2 – Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship at Sandown
    • 19 May - National Motoring Heritage Day Cavalcade down Geelong way
    • 2 June - Kaos Custom Bikes – Come and Try -Motorkhana at Calder Park on the Thunderdome. Was a great fun day last year and promises to be another one this time
    • 15 June - Traction Tyres/ Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 3 at Calder Park on the National Circuit
    • 20 July - Christmas in July – Sovereign Hill – Winter Wonderlights weekend away
    • 29 July - Kaos Custom Bikes – Come and Try – Broadford
    • 11 August - Kaos Custom bikes – Come and Try – Sandown
    • 25 August - Traction tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 5 at Phillip Island
    • 29 October - 6 November – Tasmania Trip 2 - The Northern Half
    • 10 November - Hill Climb – Bryant Park our first Hill climb for a couple of years, will be great to get back down to Morwell
    • 14 November - AGM at the German Tivoli Club
    • 21- 24 November - Challenge Bathurst
    • 1 December - Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship Round 6 – Phillip Island
    • 8 December - Christmas Show & Shine – Family picnic – Cruden Farm

    To register for any of the above events, head on over to our calendar

    Remember to keep an eye on emails and updates, as dates do change, sometimes by events out of our control, and new events are added all the time, and I’d hate to see you miss out on something.

    Our new motorsport top has sold out and we are waiting for a new order to arrive. The new design was very popular, and they do look fantastic, so get your orders in as soon as you can, and we’ll send them out, or come to our track days and we will have stock there. Check out all the other club merchandise in our store too, always lots to chose from.

    Edition 6 of our wonderful magazine, idrive, is with the printer as we speak, so you will receive it on Saturday if you are at the 6th Birthday Celebration Dinner, or it will be in the mail next week. Can’t wait to see the next edition. Well done to all who contributed stories, but especially Jo for chasing up content and Jess for all her continued hard work putting it all together. She does an amazing job, and we are all very proud of her and the end result of her toils.

    Membership continues to grow, above 800 members now, so welcome to all of you have joined and thank you to all of you that keep renewing. We must be doing something right to keep you coming back. As always though, this is your club, so if you have an event idea or suggestion, don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of the committee and we will see what we can do. We are always looking for inspiration and new places to visit.

    It is now just under 12 months until we are hosting the BMW Clubs Australia Nationals in Melbourne, over the ANZAC weekend, 2025. Keep the date free in your calendar. Planning is well underway, we are building a web site and setting up the entry system as we speak. All of this will be released very soon. It is looking like a great event. So make sure you keep the weekend free to come and join us. We will also be looking for lots of helpers to run the Nationals, so keep that in mind too for when we put out a call for helpers.

    Our welfare team has been working away quietly in the background, providing support and assistance where needed. It is a great part of the club we have that there is a facility there when we need it. Very proud of the work the team do and very heartwarming to see the results of being there when someone needs a shoulder to lean on. If you need any help or an ear to listen to a problem, reach out, they are there to help in any way we can.

    Take care out there, especially as the days get colder and wetter as we head into Winter, and I look forward to seeing you at an event soon.

    Graeme Bell | President

    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.

    PO Box 81, Tyabb VIC 3913
    Incorporated in Victoria #A0102695G
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc is a member of: BMW Clubs Australia and the BMW Clubs International Council
    Motorsport Australia Affiliated Motorsport Club

  • 27 Apr 2024 10:37 AM | Anonymous

    Event date: August 2023

    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne have successfully run this event now for 2 years, in 2022 and 2023.

    Why did we start running his event you may ask.

    With the Covid lockdowns there were a lot of events which were cancelled or postponed.

    In 2020 at our Royal Childrens Hospital Good Friday Car Display event we were approached by a member of the Mercedes Club and asked if we had heard anything about the GAS event being held that year and we said no we had not.

    Graeme and I discussed this and also spoke to our committee and thought we would approach the VW Club and see if this event would be resurrected after the lock down.

    We got a response saying that they had issues with venues and volunteers, and it was unlikely they would be holding the event in 2020.

    This got us thinking and we suggested that we run the event in 2021 with their blessing.  We were invited to a committee meeting where we presented our prospectus to them, and they were happy for us to run it as long as we kept the theme of the event the same, which we were more than happy to do as previously these events were always run so well by the VW Club and always well attended.

    We agreed to run the event that year and VW do the next.

    Flyers were made by VW and then the promoting started. We had the date booked for the same weekend which it had always run, which was late August 2021, but sadly due to more COVID lockdowns we had to postpone the event to Jan 2022.  Now this was not an easy thing to do as we had many food and trade stands attending, not to say all the entrants who had paid to attend. 

    Weeks and months of preparation had to be put on hold and a new date was to be sourced.  Luckily, we managed to get the last Sunday in January and we prayed for good weather and a great turn out. 

    The event was being held at Sandown Raceway on the Red Hill area.

    These events are both expensive and need as small army of volunteers to help run them.  We were lucky to have help from the venue and sponsorship form Shannons to help with some of the expenditure. 

    I had chosen Beyond Blue as our charity for this event, because of all the fantastic work they had and are still doing through Covid with mental health.  They were very happy to have us raise fund for them, and I naively thought we would raise approximately $2500.

    As we neared the event, I was getting more and more trade stands wanting to attend and they all donated to the charity as part of their contribution to attending.  The numbers were steadily going up for our charity and even though we were exhausted with all the planning, it was going to be a great day.

    The week prior to the event we had 3 days of solid Melbourne rain, and I was so worried about what it would be like, I had nervous vendors calling me wanting to know what would happen, I said we will still hold the event rain hail or shine.

    The Saturday before, 4 of us attended the venue to mark out the areas for the display cars and start the huge set up. 

    After several hours in 38c we were all drained and headed back to the Park Royal Monash for some much-needed rest and refuelling.

    We had a large group of members come down from NSW who were also staying at the hotel, which was fantastic, it is always great to have inter club events.  

    Early start, we headed out there for our final set up and the weather Gods were very kind to us.  Our band of volunteers arrived early which made this part easy.

    All at their points we started getting all the cars in and how emotional was this.  Now remember, this was also a very hot day and our volunteers stayed on point all day, I had 2 runners taking water, food and seats (no one sat) they had no time. We had erected marques for them to get some shade and luckily some were under trees too, so it made it a little bit easier for them.

    The event was a huge success, and we smashed the donation total out of the park and raised just under $10,500 but we rounded it up to that amount.  (I don’t like odd amounts LOL)

    Tired, foot sore, we all headed home feeling amazing to be part of such a successful event.  I have thanked my volunteers for this event before, but I will thank them again as without them, we would not have achieved such a successful event.

    Also, I would like to again thank all the car clubs who attended with their amazing cars to put on such a great show.

    After the event I sent a very detailed breakdown of costs and contacts to the VW committee so they would be able to use this information for the next event.

    In late 2021 I received an email from one of the VW committee members wanting us to help them run the event at the same venue in January, but unfortunately, we had already booked the first half of the year with events, and this would not be possible for us at least to help with.  I did suggest they do it on that date, but it did conflict with one of Melbourne’s biggest Car Shows and it may not be a good idea to have 2 cars shows on the same day.   This was agreed by the VW committee.

    Some months later we were approached by one of our members who suggested Calder Park for the event, if we were planning on holding it during the winter months (historically this event has been held on the last Sunday in August) being mainly tarmac, it would be much easier for all the cars and bikes to be displayed.

    Our committee met and thought about it, I contacted Calder to see what they thought of this, and they agreed to us holding the event with them.

    We contacted VW club again and suggested this and then set up a sight visit with the President of the VW Club, BMW Motorcycle club and ourselves attending.

    All agreed this was a great venue, yes it looked tired but personally I think that added to the patina of the event with historic cars on display at such an iconic venue.

    You might ask why BMW Bikes were attending the viewing.

    2023 BMW Bikes celebrated 100 years of the R32 and they asked if they could be part of this great event with us and we all agreed.

    Now the hard work started.

    VW designed another fantastic flyer and away we went with the promoting of this event.

    I contacted Beyond Blue again and asked if we could collect for them and again, they were over the moon and said, ‘Yes Please’.  My goal for this event was to raise more than previously but I was worried, due to the change in venue and this one being in August and not January there might not be as many attending.

    I was very lucky with this event, as Nella Santisi asked if she could start promoting the event through her socials and with her business contacts and of course I said yes.

    This soon became almost a full-time job for us both and each Thursday and some Saturdays, Nella would come down to Hastings to our club rooms and we would work away on promoting, contacting dealerships, other clubs etc.

    Again, months of hard work and many hours of us both tirelessly slogging away we started to see the light.

    Yes, we had a committee for this event who worked behind the scenes, but Nella and I were the face of this event, and our hard work was paying off.  The tally for Beyond Blue was going up each week and my goal of going over $10,500 was achieved even before the event.

    Graeme set up a web site early in the planning stages and updated it with photos, videos, sponsors, clubs attending, and of course the ever-changing dollar value of our fund-raising amounts.  This was fabulous and I feel really helped with the promoting of this event.

    At one stage I did say I wanted $20K but thought I am just being greedy.  If you don’t put it out there you won’t get it, I was told.

    Getting closer to the event I enlisted my small army of volunteers and the other clubs who were attending also supplied volunteers who were amazing. 

    The week prior to the event the weather was looking dodgy, and I prayed each day for sunshine or just clouds but no rain.

    Again, as in previous years I received emails, text, calls from patrons and vendors asking what would happen if it rained, I simply said the cars get wet, that was pretty much all I could say.

    Honestly, someone must love me up there as the day before the sun was out for our set up and all my merry men and woman attended and helped with set up and after many exhausting hours, we all went back to our hotel, West Waters in Caroline Springs and again rested and refuelled. 

    Setting up the day before was great as we could step out where all the trade stands would be and all the display cars.  Nells and I had our doubts we would fit everyone in, but Graeme called us worry warts as most know the Thunderdome is massive and after arriving and setting up, we could have had 3 times as many there and still had plenty of room.  Sorry Graeme for ever doubting you.  Yes, there you have it an apology in writing. LOL

    The morning was another very early start and we had patrons already lined up waiting to come in even though they had been told their entry times.

    All officials to their battle points and it was like a small army, again I am so proud of all ours and the other club’s volunteers for how hard they all worked.  We managed to relieve some of our officials but again it was just so busy all the time, we were running from start to finish.

    Great weather, great display stands, great clubs attending, and especially fantastic to have BMW Bikes on display for their 100-year celebration.

    We had some fantastic raffle prizes donated by vendors, dealerships, and clubs which I thank you all for.

    John Bowe was there to sign autographs and present the winners of Best in Class. 

    Our club Treasurer did an initial count of tins and raffle money and at the end of the day we were just over $21K. I burst into tears and was told by one of our members he felt we could make $25K after the final counting was done.

    Beyond Blue had their own donation tins on the day and they told me they would be able to give us the final figure by Wednesday. These were the longest few days for me as I was so excited and so were all the others associated with this event.

    The email came in and like previously we were just under $25k so BMW Drivers Club Melbourne made up the difference to make it an even amount.

    Just because the event was over didn’t mean the hard work was finished.

    Thank you, emails were sent to all who attended, informing them of our final tally.

    All vendors, sponsors and volunteers received thank you emails.  This took me and Nella over 2 weeks to complete.

    Our club trailer needed to be cleaned out and re packed this was a huge task.

    Now if you are ever thinking about holding an event like this, a word of advice, make sure you have a dedicated team behind you and loving supportive partner to reassure you that you are doing the right thing, when you fall in a heap from exhaustion and a band of volunteers who will work with you to achieve your final goal.

    Thank you to all who contributed to both these great events, without your help be it little or large, these two events would not have been the success they were.

    Jo Mawson | Member #2
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

  • 27 Apr 2024 10:20 AM | Anonymous

    Our club together with The BMW Motrorcycle Club of Victoria recently organised a visit to the new Ringwood BMW Dealership and it was a thrilling experience for all members from both clubs.  As we walked into the dealership we were immediately greeted by the sleek and stylish BMW models showcased on the showroom floor.

    BMW has two separate 2-series cars at present.  The G42 2 series Coupe shares much with the G20 3-series and, like it, is based on BMW’s CLAR platform for rear-drive cars, or rear-drive-biased Xdrive all-wheel-drive models.  The F44 2-series Gran Coupe is based on the UKL2 architecture shared with other smaller BMWs and the MINI range, for front-drive cars or front-biased AWD models.  In BMW’s usual model naming, a 2-series coupe and Gran Coupe would both be based on the 1-series.  But the front-drive platform was unsuitable for an M2 version of the 2-series coupe, so the rear-drive G42 coupe was born.

    A recent loan car from Waverley BMW was an F44 M235i Gran Coupe.  Many will know I owned a F54 MINI Clubman JCW, and the F44 is a stretched and updated version of the same platform, with the same 225KW/450NM version of the B48 engine, front-biased all-wheel-drive, mechanical limited slip front differential, an Aisan 8-speed torque converter automatic and large Brembo brakes.  Given the similarities, I was keen to compare the M235i.  And, of course, to compare it with my G42 230i Coupe.  For information, the M135i has the same mechanicals as the M235i, but is a hatchback on the shorter Clubman-sized platform.  The M235i is quite expensive, priced mid-way between the 230i and M240i coupes.

    Unfortunately, the weather was wet during my time with the M235i, and I didn’t have time for a long rural drive, so where handling is concerned these are impressions rather than a comprehensive comparison.

    Immediately, the M235i feels sportier than 230i but not as refined.  It’s very like the Clubman JCW in that regard.  It feels like a not-too-large front-drive sports car.

    Its engine is very responsive, sounds good, and is quite loud in sports mode, accompanied by lots of pops and bangs from the exhaust.  Overall, it’s much louder than 230i.  Acceleration is properly fast.  The all-wheel-drive system sends up to half the torque to the rear wheels and gives remarkable grip for acceleration even on wet roads.

    The M235i’s gearbox is much smoother in sports mode than the identical box in the Clubman. But this is achieved through slow changes, which are very noticeable in manual mode.  Stepping off the line is prompt, unlike the Clubman, so that’s an improvement.  Overall, not up to standard for a sporty car, and nowhere near the standard of the ZF gearbox in the 230i and other rear-drive BMWs.

    The M235i interior is a big step down from 230i in appearance and ambience – unsurprising seeing the 230i inherits its interior from the 3- and 4-series and other larger BMWs.  Some of materials and touch points seem a bit less sophisticated.  Quality is sound like the Clubman although, being a MINI, that interior feels more unique and special.  Also, the M235i interior feels narrow after the (admittedly very wide) 230i, but realistically it has adequate width.  At least my phone fits in the wireless charger, unlike in the 230i!

    Personally, I found the M235i front seats terrible.  They have a fixed headrest which is angled too far forward.  Just in normal driving it was banging my head constantly and gave me a near-instant headache, so I had to adopt a longer-arm driving position which is neither sustainable on a long trip nor conforming to BMW’s own seat position recommendations.  But if you have longer arms than me, or you sit more reclined, you’ll find the seat is otherwise pretty well shaped and fairly well bolstered, although bolstering is not adjustable as in the 230i.  The M235i seat lacks lumbar adjustment and is almost good enough to do without – it might be in an options pack as it is with the 230i.  The seat in my loan car was either leather or Sensatec (vinyl) but it was without seat heating (another option, no doubt) it was freezing to get into in winter.  I’m guessing it was leather, with the standard upholstery being the much more suitable Alcantara.

    The M235i’s rear seat is basic, as was the Clubman’s.  As for space, the rear lacks headroom unless you sit very upright so the your head is in the small raised area between the sunroof and the rear window. Because of its square shape, the Clubman is way more spacious in the rear.  If you regularly carry people of average or greater height in the back, you might see if the similar but shorter M135i hatch has more space – it might do, due to its squarer roof shape.  Access through the M235i’s narrow rear side doors is tight, and even the front doors are a bit tight. Frameless windows front and rear are a nice touch.  For comparison, the 230i’s rear seat is much better shaped with reasonable support.  It has slightly less headroom than the M235i but less legroom.

    OS7 drives the screens and user interface of the M235i.  Now being used to OS8 in the 230i, I much prefer it for its bigger screen, more info, better legibility and much more flexibility.  The only plus of OS7 is that “Set” cruise control function sets to the current speed limit, rather than current speed.

    Despite its appearance and the layout of BMW’s larger Gran Coupes, the M235i not a hatch but a sedan.  The boot lid doesn't open nearly far enough.  Mind your head!  That said, the boot is huge.  Predictably and sadly, there is no spare wheel - all the more frustrating as a space saver could fit under the main floor.

    Unsurprisingly given the shared platform, the M235i has steering that is MINI-like and heavier than 230i.  Steering feel is probably better than 230i but still not brilliant; this is another area in which the Clubman JCW was better.  The M235i has typical front-drive traits of occasional tramlining and less self-centring.  Overall, the steering doesn’t inspire confidence like the 230i’s.  On the positive, torque steer seems completely absent.

    The M235i ride seems a bit softer around town than both 230i and Clubman but it’s still firm.  The 230i becomes brilliant at rural speeds, but I didn’t get the chance to compare the M235i in the countryside.  However, I could tell that, overall, its handling is very like the Clubman’s, which shouldn’t be a surprise.  Fundamentally, it handles like a heavy-ish front-drive car.  It’s very fast powering out of corners if you use the limited slip front diff correctly to pull you through the corner, then that and the AWD rockets you out of the corner.  There’s not much mid-corner adjustability and it’s not a car to throw around.  You can’t play with the balance with the throttle or even the brakes to the degree you can in the 230i.  Unless going as fast as possible is your thing, the 230i is much, much better for handling in the traditional BMW style.  Roadholding/grip for the M235i seems good even in the wet, and of course AWD gives strong grip under acceleration.

    I did manage to check out the headlights.  On my loan car, they were fixed LEDs and were pretty good, but not as good for distance as 230i’s optional adaptive lights.

    Appearance-wise, the M235i suffers the fate of many current BMWs by being liked by some and not by others.  Personally, I think the profile is attractive.  The front is pretty good with only a slightly oversized grille.  The rear looks like an X4, which I rate as ugly.  Much of the point of a Gran Coupe is to be a more attractive alternative to its sibling sedan – or hatch, in this case – and in this regard the F44 Gran Coupe probably may miss the mark for many people.

    On its release, the M235i received mediocre reviews, especially from writers expecting a cut-price traditional (ie rear-drive) BMW.  This was especially the case in the USA, where it serves as the brand’s smallest sedan (the US doesn’t get the 1‑series hatch).  I know the M135i was sharpened up mid-cycle and received a better response, and I wonder if the M235i received the same treatment after its initial reviews.  How you view the car may depend on your expectations and what else is available at the price.  If you’re expecting typical BMW rear-drive handling, the M235i is clearly going to disappoint.  If you’re looking for a front-drive sporty car (yes, with the added benefit of supplementary rear drive), then it’s good.  For the enthusiast looking for the most engaging, best-handling front-drive sports car, there are superior alternatives.  For someone seeking luxury, there would be competitors at the BMW’s price.  The M235i, then, is either a bit of a compromise or a well-rounded car, depending on your viewpoint.  It’s a good, sporty-feeling car with a touch of sophistication and BMW’s high quality.  It’s fast and secure.  It would be good for a young family if they can afford it.  And based on my Clubman experience, it would be good for long-distance trips too.  It does many things quite well, but it’s not a knock-out blow against the competition.

    In contrast, the G42 2-series coupe has no competition, and even if it did, it’s a modern iteration of classic BMW at its best.  It proved to be a great decision by BMW to go to the trouble and cost of producing the 2‑series coupe on the CLAR rear-drive platform.  For singles or couples, rather than an M235i Gran Coupe, either saving money with a 230i coupe or stretching the budget to the AWD M240i Coupe are better options.

    Peter Williams | Member #36
    BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

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