As I have described the IMSA/Michelin Challenge race weekend at Road America, it is an event for the whole family. Part of the attraction of IMSA racing is that it is “up close and personal.”
For many years, our family attended Formula 1 races in Indianapolis. The racing in Formula 1 is exciting, but it is very “un-personal.” Fans were not allowed to get close to the drivers, the cars or the pits. Drivers were whisked away in private cars or helicopters, the pits are closed to the public and the only way to see the cars is on the race track. Crowds of people gather around the point where the drivers enter and leave the track, and if you are lucky, you could maybe get a glimpse of Michael Schumacher leaving in the back seat of a Maserati.
Just the opposite is true in American Sportscar racing. IMSA has made it their mission to make the drivers, the pits and the cars assessable to the fans. It is possible to almost touch the cars as they line up on the hot-grid. As the cars drive to line up, they actually need to avoid fans who are walking the grounds.
The Badger Bimmers tour of the pits is incredible as the teams take the group inside their race tent area and do a presentation to the group with time for questions and answers as they are preparing the car for the next practice, qualifying or race. You cannot get any closer from as a racing fan.. This is why I believe that IMSA puts on the best racing show in the world and why the fan base is growing and attendance is growing every year.
Besides the access to the drivers and pits, Road America is a wonderful venue to watch racing which allows fans to drive and walk almost anywhere inside the track. Over the past several years, many improvements have been made to the grounds with new walking trails which allow viewing the race from almost anywhere on the track that you could desire. Even if you are not a die-hard racing fan, this is one event you should see once in your life and experience the excitement of live racing.
For anyone born after 1980, the methods of communication and relating to one’s peers have changed from past generations. Prior to the internet and instant communication, people tended to, and needed to gather together in social settings to feel the importance of belonging to a group.
Today, with instant communication via the internet and social websites, a group can gather in a matter of minutes to create a social setting where people of like interests can gather.
Unfortunately, this has had a tremendous impact on established groups created for people who have had similar and shared interests in certain topics. Most all of these types of groups, who have had a long and storied history, are diminishing in importance and have a shrinking membership. The BMW CCA is included in the groups who are struggling to maintain or grow their membership at a constant pace. Therefore, the BMW CCA has created a new rebate program to help foster membership retention and create growth. The following statement is reprinted from the BMW CCA statement concerning the attraction of new members who may be interested in purchasing a new or CPO vehicle from an authorized BMW dealer. I hope you or someone you know will take advantage of this new program.
The BMW CCA has announced a major update to the Membership Reward Rebate Program. Individuals who purchase a club membership of three or more years will now immediately qualify for the Membership Reward Rebate Program and may be eligible to receive a rebate of up to $1,500. Yes, that means you can now skip the old waiting period of 365 days and immediately apply for a rebate with this new option! It’s important to note the membership must be purchased within 15 days of the purchase/lease date of the vehicle or any time prior to. Also, the member must apply for the rebate within 60 days of purchase using the form found at bmwcca.org/vehicle_rebate.
With the changing dynamics of BMW vehicle purchases, more and more sport activity vehicles are being sold by all major car companies with a decline in traditional sedans and sports cars, what is the future of our car club, or any car club with the focus on “car culture” and belonging to an organization especially designed for people who love cars.
As widely reported, many timeless organizations with a rich history of membership have lost membership over the last decade or so. It appears many organizations with a tradition of people belonging to that organization because of the mutual beliefs of the members, have all seen a decline in attracting new and younger members to replace older members when they leave the club or organization. As the national BMW CCA grapples with how to adapt to a new generation of car enthusiasts who may share many of the same values as the current membership, how to we get those younger people involved with the current club.
What does our club need to do to attract and retain members who may not feel the same attraction to joining organizations because of a mutual interest? As our local club is not growing at a pace we would expect to be healthy, we must change in order to bring in new members who have many of the same interests as current members. The question then arises, what new and different activities should we offer, or how do we need to change our structure to ensure the longevity of the organization we care so deeply about. All current Board members are open to discussion involving this topic. Please contact a Board member with your opinions.
Do you like the events and activities which are planned and hosted by our club? Do you have an idea for a new event or one which occurred years ago?
Now is your chance to voice your opinion! For the past several years, our chapter has held a “club members annual planning session” to discuss and plan the activity calendar for the following year.
The Board of Directors feel this annual planning session is very important in giving members a voice in the activities we plan for the club, and to put together a comprehensive yearly plan which tie our activities together. We will once again be soliciting information and ideas for new and different activities which might be interesting to our members. We will discuss which club events were successful and would like to sponsor again and which those that should drift into our memories.
All ideas brought to the meeting will be discussed on their merit, interest to club members and feasibility. We hope to have a large group with new and interesting ideas brought to the table.
You are all invited to attend our yearly “annual planning meeting” in November to discuss new and old activities. Please bring your ideas for us to discuss and help plan next year’s calendar for your club. This meeting will feature free lunch and conversation beginning at noon. Stay tuned for location and date. Hope to see you there!
Recently, I was notified by the BMW CCA Foundation office that the Iowa Chapter has won the recent Brick Fundraising Chapter Challenge. We won our division based on membership of clubs with under 400 members. The Brick Fundraiser supports the BMW Foundation Museum in Greer, South Carolina.
Fundraising with engraved bricks for the BMW CCA Foundation Museum makes sense for several reasons. First, it allows donors to visibly attest to their support of the BMW CCA Foundation and the history of our club. People love finding their names displayed in a place that has great significance to them. Secondly, with the customizable colors and designs, engraved bricks can be easily integrated into the existing look of the BMW CCA Foundation museum.
Museums serve many important functions in society, from educating the public to generating tourism for communities. The American Alliance of Museums estimates that more than 850 million museum visits occur in the U.S. each year. Yet despite that staggering
number, most museums remain very dependent on donations to fund their programs. In order to protect and preserve the history of BMW CCA in America, this fundraising campaign supporting the Foundation Museum will serve our members for generations to come.
There is still time to donate to the Foundation and purchase a brick if you have not done so yet. Please visit http://www.fundraisingbrick.com/bmwccafoundation to purchase your brick and put your name for visitors to observe for many years to come.