One BMWCCA chapter claims AEB and lane-holding systems are too unpredictable for use on the track, even if they can be turned off.
Despite the clear safety benefits of automatic emergency braking and lane-holding technologies on the street, vehicles equipped with such systems are becoming increasingly unwelcome at track events.
The BMWCCA Genesee Valley Chapter -- which manages track events at Watkins Glen and other northeast tracks -- has issued a blanket ban prohibiting any vehicle equipped with AEB or lane keeping assistance from participating in track events.
Club management argues that the technologies cause unpredictable behavior when used on the track. It is not difficult to imagine how unintended hard braking or steering reaction could destabilize a vehicle that is operating at the limits of grip.
"Because there is so much uncertainty about how these systems behave in a variety of conditions, GVC have decided to ban all vehicles equipped with Automatic Emergency Braking and/or Lane Keeping Assistance systems (or their equivalent) for use in our HPDE events, even if these systems may be disabled by the driver," the chapter wrote in a membership letter obtained by BimmerFile.
Many drivers will undoubtedly be upset over the club's unwillingness to allow cars that integrate a manual switch to deactivate the safety assistance systems. The reasoning behind the decision is unclear, though it could reflect the difficulty in determining when the system is disabled or the risk of overlooked reengagement when the vehicle is restarted.
In a statement to Road & Track, BMW noted that the national BMWCCA office has not called for a ban on such vehicles. The company is currently working with the national managers to educate and "develop a nationwide procedure" for including BMW vehicles with safety assistance technologies.
"Most advanced driver aids like lane departure warning and blind spot detection do not affect the ability of the driver to control the car on-track at high speed," the company said "In addition the systems can be shut off so that they are also not a distraction to a student."
The dispute could escalate as AEB and lane-keeping tech become more commonplace as standard equipment on new cars.