BMW M Division turns 40 – celebrations held at Nurburgring (Photos)

BMW M is celebrating 40th birthday at Nurburgring with AvD Oldtimer GP, which coincidentally is also completing 40 years and will be joining in the celebrations. To mark 40th year of BMW M Division the company has rolled out a bevy of beauties which include two BMW M1 Group 4 racers, BMW 320 Group 5 car, BMW M3 Group A car (1987) and 1995 BMW 320i STW.

These vintage models were each driven across the Nurburgring circuit by four touring car drivers also associated with BMW M since 1972. They included Dieter Quester, Prince Leopold of Bavaria, Marc Surer, Marc Hessel and Adrian van Hooydonk. At the events held on August 10 to 12, 2012, 60000 spectators were present to mark this important landmark for BMW M.

BMW is partner to this year’s AvD Oldtimer GP and hence these classic cars were given a prominent place in the celebrations. By early 1990s a new name was necessary to bring to the fore BMWs wider range of activities and project the company in the racing arena.

It was on August 1, 1993 that BMW M GmbH was christened. All motorsports activities have since been handled by the specially formed BMW Motorsports division. The guest list for the 40th anniversary celebrations included a number of famous racing drivers and former members of BMW Motorsport GmbH and BMW M GmbH management.

Read the press release below for more information.

News Release

Anniversary at the Nürburgring. BMW Classic celebrates 40 years of BMW M GmbH at the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix 2012.

Munich. 2012 is a special year for all BMW M fans with BMW M GmbH – formerly known as BMW Motorsport GmbH – marking its 40th birthday. BMW Classic is celebrating the anniversary with an array of highlights at this year’s edition of Germany’s largest classic car race at the Nürburgring. BMW M is not alone in reaching an important landmark; the event itself also has its 40th birthday this year. Organisers are once again expecting in excess of 60,000 spectators to flood to the circuit in the Eifel from 10 – 12 August 2012 for the double anniversary.

BMW involved as a key partner.

BMW is a partner of this year’s AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix. BMW Classic will therefore have a suitably prominent presence at the Nürburgring and offer visitors an extensive programme of attractions. Topping the bill are activities celebrating the “40 Years BMW M GmbH” anniversary and the division’s illustrious motor sport heritage. And attracting particular attention – alongside the display of BMW M cars and racing machines at the approximately 1,000 m² BMW Classic exhibition area in the paddock – will be the BMW M “Jubiläumsrennen” (anniversary races) and 10-minute demonstration drives with BMW M models immediately before the races. Added to which, a major element of BMW Classic’s activities at the event will be the supply of parts to the expanding ranks of both recent and older BMW classics.

BMW M Jubiläumsrennen contested by distinguished drivers.

BMW Classic is teaming up with the AvD to hold the BMW M Jubiläumsrennen races, in which the full gamut of BMW racing cars since 1972 will be represented. “I’m sure we’ll be able to wave off a packed field of wonderful cars from the past 40 years,” says Norbert Knerr, Head of Classic Motorsport at BMW Classic.

The races are open to all BMW racing cars developed by BMW Motorsport GmbH (today’s BMW M GmbH) since 1972, and the cars will be split into relevant classes. The AvD is accepting entries up to 17 July 2012. BMW Classic will line up with five BMW racing cars piloted by familiar figures. These will include two BMW M1 Group 4 racers, a BMW 320 Group 5 car, a BMW M3 Group A (1987) model and the BMW 320i STW (1995). Four highly successful BMW touring car drivers will be doing battle, with Dieter Quester, Prince Leopold of Bavaria, Marc Surer and Marc Hessel all getting behind the wheel. Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice-President BMW Group Design, rounds off a rare quintet of drivers.

Qualifying: Friday, 10 August, 16.00 – 16.25 hrs
BMW M Jubiläumsrennen 1: Saturday, 11 August, 13.30 – 14.00 hrs
BMW M Jubiläumsrennen 2: Sunday, 12 August, 13.30 – 14.00 hrs

The third highlight of the anniversary festival will be demonstration drives, each lasting 10 minutes, which will take place before the anniversary races. The demonstration drives are open to all BMW M cars – indeed, standard road models are also very welcome – and will each start at 13.00 hrs.

40 Years BMW M – a history of success.

In 1972 BMW brought together the company’s motor racing activities under the umbrella of a new company, BMW Motorsport GmbH. Former racing driver and team boss Jochen Neerpasch took over the reins and built the wholly-owned BMW subsidiary into a powerful race team – one that would go on to earn BMW countless triumphs in motor sport competition over the years that followed. The construction of ultra-sporty BMW road cars was also part of the company’s brief. In 1978 the BMW M1 super-sports car became the first BMW M model to make its debut, laying the building blocks for a tradition that continues to define BMW M to this day. By the early 1990s a new company name was required to reflect the BMW subsidiary’s wider spheres of activity, which now included BMW M cars, BMW Individual and BMW Driver Training. The legendary “M” – “the most powerful letter in the world” – provided the inspiration for the company’s rechristening as BMW M GmbH on 1 August 1993. Motor sport activities have since been handled by the specially formed BMW Motorsport division.

The guest list for the anniversary celebrations will include a line-up of well-known racing drivers and former members of the BMW Motorsport GmbH and BMW M GmbH management.