BMW’s Motorsport success: From Formula One to Touring car racing
BMW uses success in motorsport to build their brand
Motorsport is integral to BMW and has been a part of the brands product development and marketing strategy for many years. Over the years BMW has participated and enjoyed success in a variety of motorsport disciplines including the Mille Miglia, 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Tourist Trophy and DTM as well as Formula One and the Dakar Rally.
In 1929 a flat-twin Boxer engine with vertical drive shaft and supercharger propelled the BMW WR 500 victory at the Senior TT of the Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man riding a supercharged motorcycle, kickstarting a tradition of success at the pinnacle of motorsport.
The BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe took overall victory at the Mille Miglia in 1940 in a record time thanks to its reliable six-cylinder engine, reduced weight and favourable aerodynamic values. In 1983, the Brabham BMW BT52 became the first vehicle in the history of Formula One to win a World Championship with a turbocharged engine when Nelson Piquet won the World Championship in the Final Formula One race of the 1983 season at Kyalami, near Johannesburg.
The BMW M3 Group A DTM car, the first generation of a BMW M3 laid the foundation which made this model the most successful model in touring car history.
Read more about the BMW M3 Touring here.
Between 2012 and 2015, the Mini ALL4 Racing stormed to four back-to-back victories at the Dakar Rally, the world’s most challenging off-road race.
BMW and South Africa also have a special relationship with motorsport. At the Rosslyn BMW plant, BMW built the first BMW 530 MLE in 1976, which is widely seen as one of the early steps in BMW Motorsport and as the birth of the BMW M brand. The racing version of the BMW 530 MLE won the Star Modified Racing Series three times in a row and went on to become the world’s most successful 5 series on the track.
In 2022 South African Sheldon van der Linde continued this tradition when he clinched the DTM Drivers Championship in his Schubert Motorsport BMW M4 and in doing so became the first South African to do so and the first BMW driver since Marco Wittmann in 2016.
Find out more about Sheldon Van Der Linde's 2022 DTM championship win here
BMW still believes in the old cliché, “What wins on Sunday, sells on Monday” and as such motorsport continues to inspire their business even during a time where there is a big move to alternatively powered vehicles. BMW M models, which are heavily influenced by the world of motorsport and what is required to succeed in that competitive world, continue to increase in popularity as they offer enthusiasts a taste of motorsport that can be used every day.
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