BMW’s ‘Ultimate Driving Experience’ makes diversity a top priority

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BMW turned the parking lot surrounding Citi Field in Queens, New York, into a one-of-a-kind experience last month.

VIPs came out for a night of cars and culture.

The BMW Ultimate Driving Experience was part of a ten-city, nationwide diversity tour, and New York City was the finale.

“The reality of it is, we’re moving into a world that’s becoming more and more brown and less white,” said Kevin Williams, the company’s head of multicultural marketing. “At BMW, we need to be ahead of that curve.”

Sports greats, like Tiki Barber and Keith Hernandez, bloggers and potential customers from a variety of racial backgrounds were invited out for a night of food, fashion and test drives.

German-engineered eye candy filled the lot.

Participants measured their driving skills against professional drivers on a closed course full of hairpin turns. The pros took guests around the track first, giving instructions. Then, driver and student switched seats.

As rally champion Lesley Suddard put it, the only real rule was “don’t hit a cone, or you’re through.”

Guests could also take advantage of more traditional test drives.

BMW had its 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7M Series and i Series as well, including the new electric i8 supercar, available for a lap around the streets surrounding the ballpark.

Singanallur Narayanan, who took the i8 out for a spin, described it as “simply amazing.”

After the test drive, guests were treated to a reception, with fashion put together by Mica Hughes of Mica Models.

Then, celebrity Chef Palak Patel prepared a three-course meal based on food found in different regions of India. The meal included chili poached cod, leg of lamb and vanilla cake with saffron yogurt.

“This is like nirvana,” said the New York-based chef. “To have the opportunity to cook the food that I love for a new audience like this in this setting is amazing.”