BBS, Excuse Us, Bimmer InvasionOctober 19, 2023
What if you saw maybe 2,500-plus BBS wheels roll into Irwindale Speedway? Lots of folks estimated that happened at Bimmer Invasion over Labor Day weekend, and even better, this collection of concaved and curved circles was attached to hundreds of amazing BMWs, punctuating an incredible Bimmer Invasion as it visited Southern California for the first but hopefully not the last time. As with most things BMW and Motorsport, BBS was right there among the mix as one of the many partners available for the 5,000-plus Invasion attendees.
We should start by thanking YOU. Maybe not everyone individually here, but it’s clear that the BBS community is strong and that resonated that fine Saturday louder than most (ok, some) of the exhausts on site. We love seeing and meeting so many of you at events around the country. And that’s exactly what Bimmer Invasion has become, now making a visit to its third state. This stop around the country was its first foray this far west. What makes it successful might be up for an individual’s interpretation, but outside of traffic and entry pace, there was something for everyone.
The festival environment seemed to find a perfect host location at the Speedway. While there were more than 1,200 BMWs spread across the expansive parking lot, there were sections for vendors, for “show and shine” entrants, for motorsport, and for the VIP entrants. Additionally, there were actually events within the event, and all programmed into the day’s agenda, managed by the Bimmer Invasion and Speedway staff. We saw BBS wheels in every segment, including the exhaust competition, the burnout contest, and drag racing, which makes sense considering our roots in motorsport.
If you’re worried that the concept of an exhaust competition or drag racing or a burn out competition sounds too “street takeover” for you, fear not. That’s not our style and was not the Bimmer Invasion vibe either. Each event was sequestered to its own location on the grounds, some completely out of ear shot to those spectators meandering through row after row of BMWs—and BBS wheels—from every era. And each managed by Speedway staff very keen on ensuring this and other weekend revenue sources can continue. They want more people there, so keeping people safe was critical.
If you were there, we hope you stopped by our space we shared with AR Motorwerkz, a fantastic BBS partner in nearby Pasadena. Our partners help make the BBS community strong and Ron Tjiptokesuma, Owner of AR Motorwerkz, knows that as well as any. “The event was fantastic,” he says. “I’d say Bimmer Invasion was actually BBS invasion! It was great to see the community out in force—so many cars with BBS wheels everywhere we turned.
“There was such great energy throughout the event in general, but we saw so much activity at the booth, too. We had a great line-up of cars ranging from an amazing E30 M3 convertible on 24 karat gold-plated RSs to the latest G-series M cars on LMs and customized LM-Rs, too. So many people had questions about traditional BBS wheels and the new styles we were displaying with BBS.”
It would be one thing if we boasted how much fun it was seeing energy at our own booth, but it was another to see the event as a whole recognize BBS wheels’ presence at Invasion. Lucas Lanphere claimed the Best Classic trophy with his bagged E30 M3, replete with BBS wheels. Lanphere didn’t stop there; he also brought his matching alpine white E36 M3 and E46 M3, also both sporting BBS wheels. “The event was definitely an amazing experience to do with friends, especially close friends,” Lanphere says. “It was a lot of fun having my girlfriend [Micah Kreiser] there, especially in the E46 M3. She had that at the BimmerGirls booth to also support so many women being there as well.”
While Lanphere brought multiple cars, we spotted Kevin Lee there with multiple types of BBS wheels on his F87 M2. “I’ve been a BMW fan since my Honda days back in the early 2000s when the E46M3 was launched,” Lee says. “I had an E46M3 back in 2017 and had E88s on it for a short bit. I’ve run the old school RSs on an E30M3 I had, too. The E30m3 and E46M3 are my favorites, but the F87 M2 is a modern classy version of it all. To me, BMW and BBS just go together; they always have. BBS is well known in motorsport and many cars you see in Europe and on the Nurburgring run BBS wheels. They make one of the lightest one-piece wheels like the BBS RI-A that I run in the front. It’s lightweight forged aluminum and you can feel the weight difference from stock wheels. I have the BBS E88 in the rear. It’s a lightweight three-piece wheel used in motorsport racing on many BMW and Porsche racecars. The three-piece is unique because you can service lips and barrels when it wears. BBS is so iconic, especially the E88, when you are just rolling or at a standstill, real enthusiasts will instantly know what wheel it is.”
Even beyond the fact that BBS wheels were as common as the cheers at the burnout competition, the event as a whole was genuinely impressive. “What we do is a little bit different than others shows,” shares event co-founder Miguel Torres. “We have everything sequenced and scheduled. The intent is not just to host a cars and coffee to park cars and walk around. We want to keep people entertained and engaged. Because we cater to all years of BMWs, we bring vendors and fans that relate to that same community. That is highlighted by vendors like BBS that has supplied wheels to BMW from the inception. Because Bimmer Invasion is for BMW fans of all eras, BBS’ presence fits quite well. At their booth with AR Motorwerkz, fans could talk about new products or classic wheels for old vehicles.
“The amount of BBS wheels at this particular show was overwhelming,” Torres continues. “At least 70 percent of aftermarket wheels had to have been BBS, ranging from RSs to E88s to LMs to the modern RI-As, FI-Rs and more. “If you were looking to figure out what BBS wheels looked like on your car, Invasion was the place, either at the booth or just walking around the event. You could ask the owners about fitment and specs for their builds, get an idea how certain wheels would look on your car, talk to the owners; there’s so much value to that. We saw that with BBS and really all our partners.”
“As a result of the success of this weekend, we are definitely planning to come back in 2024 and provide an event better event. We hope BBS can be another integral part of that, too!”
The BBS booth represented exactly what Torres describes. As Tjiptokesuma says above, you could find classic wheels on older cars, but also a variety of wheels on more modern models. You could also find our man and possibly your BBS friend, Jesse Hemens, who made it out from Florida for the event.
“Coming to an event like Bimmer Invasion is great for a number of reasons, but being able to engage with our fans and our audience tops the list,” Hemans says. “We’re able to see so many great builds and hear thoughts, ideas, and concerns from attendees and can get them answers right there. We had a number of fans who came up and asked things like, ‘Do you think this wheel here [on our rack] would work on that car right over there?’ That makes it real for them, plus having Robert Way, our product specialist and the AR Motorwerkz team right there to get into the details. We’re also able to share with them new products like BBS Unlimited that really excite existing and new fans who can see how these wheels can make a difference in their BMW passion.
“You know, it wasn’t just about all the BBS wheels we saw, to be honest,” Hemans continues. “We got to see things at Bimmer Invasion like the oldest BMW in the United States and really, we’re ok with that 1930 3/15 Dixie not riding on BBS wheels. We also got to see Jon Griggs’ unique BBS-kitted E30 that looked incredible sitting over in the BMW CCA booth. In fact, we saw BBS wheels on a lot of the cars at the BMW CCA booth, including E87s on Rex Landero’s E30 M3, CI-Rs on a unique Dinan E61 Touring, and CH-Rs on Eric Sorenson’s E82 135iS. We saw our LM wheel, what I describe as the timeless wheel—on cars ranging from Marlon De Jesus’ Dakar Yellow E36 M3 sedan to Ron Tjiptakesuma's G80 at our booth.”
“Walking the show was equally as fun as meeting so many people in our booth. It sure seemed like that 70 percent estimate was on target; we saw so many BBS wheels! The event itself was refreshing. It was great to go to a BMW event and see the level of enthusiasm from every single attendee I spoke with. Southern California has been waiting a long time to bring the BMW community back together at an event like Invasion.”