BMW Car Club of America (BMWCCA) chapters across North America have begun banning newer BMW and Mini cars with active safety features like automatic braking and lane keeping assist from track day events, citing safety concerns surrounding unpredictable behaviour in cars fitted with such systems.
According to BMW enthusiast site Bimmerfile, the Genesee Valley Chapter of western New York State was the club's first to institute a ban, but others across the continent have since followed suit.
We expect it's a matter of time before car clubs catering to enthusiasts of other brands institute similar sanctions; active safety features may be making cars safer in everyday driving, but these foreshadowings of BMWs that drive themselves reinforce fears that there soon may be no more fun to be had behind the wheel of a car.
The rationale behind the ban is that, according to the Genesee Valley chapter's official announcement, "cars with automatic emergency braking and/or lane keeping assistance systems may behave in unpredictable and undesirable ways on a racetrack."
The club explains that it doesn't matter if the safety system can be disabled by the driver, "because there is so much uncertainty about how these systems behave in a variety of conditions."
Any driver who arrives at a Genesee Valley club track event (and, presumably, those hosted by other club chapters that have instituted similar bans) in a car equipped with automatic braking and lane keeping assist will forfeit their entry fees and be denied access to the track.
BMWCCA chapter executives are advising club members to "consult your local (BMW) dealership for assistance if you are unsure whether your vehicle is equipped with these collision avoidance systems."