Munich. The BMW and MINI Driving Experience is expanding its offering to include Safety Training for people with physical disabilities. From July 2021, for the first time, a driving-oriented programme will be conducted under the guidance of trained instructors and in specially converted BMW and MINI models. The choice of vehicles makes it clear that in addition to safe and confident reactions in different traffic situations, driving fun also plays a central role. In addition to the MINI John Cooper Works (fuel consumption combined: 7.1 – 6.8 l/100 km according to WLTP, 7.1 – 6.9 l/100 km according to NEDC; CO2 emissions combined: 161 – 155 g/km according to WLTP, 163 – 158 g/km according to NEDC), particularly sporty BMW models are available for the Safety Training. The practical driving exercises in the programme range from braking and evasive manoeuvres to slalom driving on the ideal line and drifting through controlled oversteering in bends.
“Driving is self-determination and thus also a kind of freedom,” says instructor Bettina Schmidt-Kiendl, who is herself dependent on a wheelchair and was instrumental in the conception of the new Safety Training. “With the new programme, we want to give people with comparable disabilities the joy of driving that I also live every day.” To achieve this goal, the training vehicles were converted so that they can be comfortably steered by hand. Both hands can remain on the steering wheel at all times. An additional ring on the steering wheel is used to accelerate. Directly next to it is a special brake lever. Thanks to these modifications, with a little practice it is possible to steer both the 170 kW/231 hp MINI John Cooper Works and the BMW M3 Competition Sedan (fuel consumption combined: 9.8 l/100 km according to WLTP; CO2 emissions combined: 224 – 223 g/km according to WLTP), which is powered by an inline six-cylinder engine with 375 kW/510 hp, confidently and sportily around the training grounds.
The Safety Training for people with disabilities is designed as a full-day event. Like all BMW and MINI Driving Experience safety training courses, it is divided into a theoretical and a practical section. To begin with, the instructors teach the participants important basics of driving physics and familiarise them with the converted vehicles. Among other things, they demonstrate the optimal seating position and the ideal steering wheel position for safe and sporty driving. This is followed by practical exercises with the MINI John Cooper Works, the new BMW M3 Competition Sedan and other current models.
The ideal conditions for intensive driving safety training are provided by the BMW and MINI Driving Academy in Maisach near Munich. There, participants learn to control their vehicle calmly and skilfully even in surprising situations. Braking and evasive manoeuvres as well as lane changes with and without deceleration are practised on different road surfaces. In addition to a slalom course, the extensive area also includes a circuit and circular surfaces prepared for highly dynamic driving exercises with controlled oversteer. In addition to maximum safety and confidence at the wheel, the participants also gain increased driving pleasure during drift manoeuvres in sporty curves.
The BMW and MINI Driving Experience offers a wide range of training courses for car and motorbike drivers designed to enhance individual driving skills. The selection ranges from safety courses for novice drivers to winter and racetrack training and courses for professional chauffeurs. With this offer, which has been in place since 1977, the BMW Group is making an important contribution to increasing road safety. Under the guidance of professional instructors, training courses are now offered in more than 30 countries around the world with current BMW, MINI and BMW Motorrad models.