Japan's First BMW Motorsport Festival

Finally, the parade has landed on my street!  Or rather on a racing course 100 kilometers away, requiring a 5AM departure in order to avoid 40km holiday traffic jam.  Call me insane, but as I was climbing behind the wheel of my M3 at sunrise, I couldn't be happier!

Owning my second BMW in the span of three and half years, and having visited manufacturing sponsored events from Toyota, Nissan, and even Ferrari made me feel like an outsider.  For years I kept asking myself: when would BMW do something like that?

Well, apparently they had something planned up their sleeve for a while, but today was the day when their plans and our dreams became reality.

So what is it? In a nutshell BMW Motorsport Festival is a huge BMW sponsored marketing event that allows owners and fans to interact with new products, do a bit of shopping and show off their rides in the process.  Even though they charge a thousand yen per person to attend I am pretty sure that their budget was hit pretty hard.

By no means I would even contemplate saying that was a flop.  On the contrary: the paddock, lounges, and even parking lots were packed to capacity, while track was always occupied by either owning parading cars, track taxi's or test drives.

There were different events for all sorts of customers ranging from SUV rides, to kids challenges, and luxury watches.  There was even cold German beer and sausages to go along.

But forget the sausages, we are here for the cars, which as you can imagine, there were plenty!

Just look at this gorgeous M4 on BBS RE wheels

or how about this convertible M3, which I must remind you was never officially sold in Japan!

Japanese do know how to put awesome finishing touches on their BMW's and it was clearly seen here.

Understandably, BMW came prepared and unveiled a whole series of upgrades for the new 5 series. This comprehensive option list can easily add another 2 million on your order.

5 Series is a great car, but most people came here for the M experience.  Unfortunately I did not get a chance to throw any of them around Fuji Speedway, but it doesn't mean that I was a complete outsider at this event, because BMW had a surprise in store.  The bad news, I had to surrender my camera and even my smartphone in order to take a sneak peak at brand new pre-production version of the 2018 BMW M5!  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I saw it, and for now, you gonna have to take my word for it.  I can go on about how important that car is, and how the market segment is going to be defined by it, and how great of a job it does blending functionality and sheer madness via overwhelmingly smart AWD system, but this is a photo-blog, so we'll move on.  I am sure the car is here to stay until Tokyo Motor Show, so we'll do a full feature then.

What I did mange to get a few pictures of was the beautiful E26 BMW M1.

With only 453 ever built, only a handful are in Japan; needless to say, this was my first time seeing one in the flesh.

Witnessing it moving on the track was just the icing on the cake, and well worth the 100km drive on sticky hot Saturday.

And how is that for a Bonus: BMW 3.0 CSL was right there next to it,

Watching these 2 legends go side by side was absolutely stunning experience.

Just look at this thing.  Hard to believe that such striking and proportionally perfect lines were designed back in the early 70's!

The legendary trio, however was led by the BMW M4 GTS.

The rare car was sporting BMW M liveries and looked fantastic leading a pack of close to 100 BMW's representing long lasting legacy and extremely happy owners....

...including

Yours truly.

My Alpine White M3 was last minute addition to be paraded around the track... at about the same speed as the traffic jam that was awaiting for me on the way back.

I was given an opportunity to enter into the final "parade run" by buddy of mine as he had to cut his plans short and return to Tokyo.

Before he did, however I managed to get a few shots of his awesome F82 M4

The car has been modded by Access Evolution Meguro, has as full matte wrap, 20 inch HRE wheels, exhaust, and an engine tune adding additional 100HP.

Everyone's favorite feature, however are these M4 GTS OLED tail lights.  That's about 10000 dollars worth of tail lights right there, ladies and gentlemen...

There were opportunities to make new friends as well.  The awesome 1M and M2 joined my M3 for a quick photo-shoot outside Fuji Speedway racing course.

The M2 looked absolutely fantastic, lowered on forged  BBS RI gold powder coated wheels.

On this, I will end the coverage, but please scroll down for more pictures as variety of cars at this event was down right staggering.  I hope BMW Japan will continue this tradition and allow more opportunities for fans and owners to interact with the products and one other.





















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