Records for World’s Trustiest Bluetooth Connection or Least Likely to Switch Drive Modes Randomly, if they existed, don’t sound flashy or exciting. It makes sense that BMW would rather put the energy into pulling off an eight-hour drift than focus on those silly details, but sometimes details end up being important.
Naturally, silly electronics issues are the very details that almost ruined BMW’s recent attempt at the Guinness World Record for longest drift in eight hours.
Recently, BMW took an M5 out with driving instructor Johan Schwartz in hopes of beating the record. A drifting record Schwartz set for BMW in 2013 got beat in almost no time, and because useless spitting contests are automakers’ favorite way to kill time, BMW got creative with the rematch—putting a lot of research and development into how to make its record bolder than those in the past.
BMW found a way to gas the car up while drifting and not use the stoppage time the record allows for refueling, and then beat the record with what seemed like relative ease. While its status as an actual “drift” is debatable, Schwartz kept an M5 in a sideways circle for eight hours and drifted a total of 232.5 miles. The M5 had to be refueled by a second car five different times and the cars smacked into each other occasionally, but that seemed to be the worst of it on the surface.
The Verge reports that it wasn’t. Schwartz told The Verge a couple of electronics failures almost killed the whole thing, like when the car’s Bluetooth randomly disconnected from the phone he used to communicate with the driver of the gas car, or when the car decided it didn’t want to be in rear-wheel drive anymore.
From The Verge:
... At one point mid-drift, Schwartz’s phone unexplainably disconnected from BMW’s infotainment system. “So I had to, while drifting, you know, reset the whole thing, turn the phone off and back on again,” Schwartz told me earlier this year at CES. “That was pretty, pretty interesting.”
There were other challenges, of course. Working out the whole refueling situation was no cake walk, as the two cars even slammed into each other a few times during those moments. Schwartz had to juggle other things inside the cabin, too, like water bottles and snacks. About six hours in, he says, the car also switched into all-wheel drive for no apparent reason, nearly dooming the attempt.
BMW, known, like all other automakers, for its tendency to engage in pointless spitting contests like this for nothing other than bragging rights and ad ideas, put a driver in a car for eight hours with a catheter just to say, “Ha! Gotcha! We win!” That’s great and all, except the efforts of that man and his catheter were almost rendered useless because of issues with the car’s electronics.
Maybe those less flashy advancements in technology deserve some attention after all.