As a result of the foundation of the “BMW Motorsport GmbH” in 1972, the new BMW Motorsport team, Jochen Neerpasch, Martin Braungart and Paul Rosche, made various considerations for a Formula 1 and a sports car with racing car technology:
- optimum aerodynamics with a small frontal area and low CW value
- low center of gravity height due to perfectly defined arrangement of the aggregates
- low curb weight with balanced weight distribution
- wheel suspension easily adjustable, designed for kinetic optimization
The concept was finally presented to the BMW Board of Management on September 30, 1975, and at this meeting the order was given to examine the proposed concept with precise investment and cost calculations. This set the starting light to green. The necessary preliminary work could begin.
Since the still new Motorsport GmbH did not have the necessary capacities, the team around Jochen Neerpasch suggested the Lamborghini company in Sant’Agata Bolognese. On October 20, 1975, the BMW Board of Management decided to begin internal development work on a Formula 1 engine and planning for a two-seater mid-engine sports car. Motorsport GmbH was given the task of drawing up a project plan, this was defined with a duration of 5 years and the production of 500 cars per year. Lamborghini was to develop and build the prototypes for the body and floor assembly, while the development of an 8-cylinder production engine was to take place at BMW in synergy with the planned Formula 1 engine.
It was planned to have the complete production carried out at Lamborghini with the engines supplied by BMW and on April 13, 1976 a contract was signed by BMW for the development and production of 2000 E26 sports cars.
The design was awarded by BMW to Giorgetto Giugiaro and his company ItalDesign. The first designs were created in 1976, which took up the formal language of the “Turbo Study” and interpreted it in a new way. A perfect way for the still young Motorsport GmbH to use and continue the positive sporty image already established as the basis of its own identity.
The BMW Team
Jochen Neerpasch (Managing Director) – Martin Braungart (Complete Vehicle Development) – Paul Rosche (Engine Development and Production) – Rainer Bratenstein (Development Engineer) – Hans Erdmann Schönbeck (Sales Director) – Dr. Karlheinz Radermacher (Consulting Expertise as BMW Development Director)
The Lamborghini Team
Dr. Franco Baraldini (Technical Director) – Giampaolo Dallara (Advisor to Franco Baraldini) – Luigi Cappellini (Commercial Director/Finance) – Georges-Henri Rosetti (Owner) – René Leimer (Owner)