1993 BMW 318i (E36)

NZ Performance Car - - Historic Touring Cars Spotlights -

Any story about tour­ing car rac­ing would be empty without in­clud­ing BMW, the man­u­fac­turer most in­deli­bly linked with global pro­duc­tion-based tour­ing car se­ries. After a dom­i­nant pe­riod across the world in Group A rac­ing with the iconic boxy sil­hou­ette of the E30 M3, the demise of that for­mula and the dawn of Su­per Tour­ing saw BMW de­velop its new con­tender. While the ini­tial E36s were two door, 1993 saw a reg­u­la­tions-com­pli­ant four-door vari­ant of the E36 take to cir­cuits world­wide to pick up where the E30 left off.

Later, BMW Motorsport de­vel­oped the S42 2.0-litre for the ex­press pur­pose of com­pet­ing in Su­per Tour­ing, but these ear­lier cars made do with a down­sized vari­ant of the S14 2.5-litre. The S14, of course, was the en­gine that pow­ered sev­eral E30 M3s to race vic­to­ries around the globe. In this smaller-dis­place­ment form, and lim­ited to 8500rpm, the 2.0-litre man­ages 209 scream­ing kilo­watts, as­sisted by the 13:1 com­pres­sion ra­tio. These ear­lier cars re­ally set the scene for Su­per Tour­ing devel­op­ment. Snug­gled in a typ­i­cally util­i­tar­ian motorsport en­gine bay, BMW’s four-slide throt­tles are fed by a car­bon-fi­bre in­take plenum pro­duc­ing prodi­gious in­take roar.

As these are a 1993 car, or­di­nar­ily, the aero would have ap­peared far closer to that of a road car. How­ever, cre­ative in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the rules by Alfa Romeo in 1994 meant that aero reg­u­la­tions be­came more re­laxed, and cars sprouted up­dated split­ters and spoil­ers by 1995. This Ben­son and Hedges (B&H) car wears the up­dated aero, which only en­hances the slammed ride height and 18-inch Speed­line cen­tre-lock wheels. Other pe­riod in­clu­sions to these cars are the Holinger six-speed se­quen­tial and the Pi Re­search dash dis­play and data-ac­qui­si­tion unit lo­cated in a fac­tory dash shell.

Start­ing life in 1993 run­ning in Italy, this BMW 318i found its way over to Aus­tralia in the care of Tony Longhurst’s sta­ble for the 1994 cham­pi­onship. It was plas­tered in Longhurst’s dis­tinc­tive B&H liv­ery, and he went on to take out the se­ries for that year — inclusive of an in­fa­mous track­side punch-up with Paul Mor­ris fol­low­ing a spot of paint swap­ping that put both driv­ers into the wall at Win­ton. Sub­se­quently, the car spent sev­eral years with var­ied ASTCC pri­va­teers, be­fore be­ing im­ported into New Zealand in 2003 by Lind­say O’Don­nell, who ini­tially cam­paigned it in South Is­land en­durance races. With the surge in His­toric Tour­ing Car in­ter­est, the BMW has now been com­pletely re­stored to 1994 spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.