Welcome to the trackside event brimming with enthusiasm for sport driving.  M Fest has been a hit thus far, with a spectacular opening night and plenty of surprises.

A good place to start would be the surprise appearance of two very special guests: the new M5 and curiously named M3 CRT (standing for “Carbon Racing Technology”).  The name is obvious considering the number of carbon fiber parts featured on the car, including a new carbon fiber bonnet.  But if we’re completely honest, the acronym sounds a touch Japanese, as in “The new Honda Civic CRT.”  We prefer the badges of yesteryear, “Coupe Sport Light” comes to mind.

Nonetheless, we positively love the new M3 CRT: it makes us drool something rabid.  The motor from the M3 GTS?  A total curb weight of 3,483 lb?  Four doors for friends to join the fun?  We’ll take ours in the gorgeous Frozen Polar Silver metalic paint as seen in the accompanying photos.  Unfortunately, it’s not looking promising that we can get our hands on one of the 67 due for production.

The M5 on display featured our beloved Monte Carlo Blue paint, and it sat imposingly in the corner of the auditorium as we enjoyed our first class dinner and drinks.  The new M5 is a car that grows on us with every passing day.  Its lines are bold and muslcular in an unprecedented way – bulging out more than on any previous M5.

After dinner and speeches from BMW representitives, we enjoyed live music from the very talented Brian Watts and band.  Brian is the Global Head of M Sales and Marketing, and if his ability to rock on on stage is any indication: he is as wild and fun to spend time with as an M car.  I suppose most cars take on the personalities of their makers, and that is a compliment to both Brian and M cars.

BMW went to the trouble of setting up Xbox 360s featuring Forza Motorsport 4 with steering wheels and foot pedals to lap the 24 Hours of Nurburgring race track in the new M5.  Even on screen, it is a visceral experience, and it certainly wet our appetite for the racing left to come throughout the weekend.

We enjoyed every moment of M Fest thus far, and we look forward to bringing you frequent updates and live coverage from the race.