The 320 became BMW's next weapon in the European racing scene after the exit of the highly successful 3.0 CSL. Both non-turbo and turbocharged versions of the highly successful Formula 2 'M12' engine powered these racecars. The BMW Junior Team, whose up and coming drivers Eddie Cheever, Marc Surer and Manfred Winkelhock, drove to eight victories and made the non-turbo versions famous in the 1977 German Racing Championships.
The turbo versions of these cars were raced in both Europe and the U.S. The European turbo cars had 1.5-liter engines while the U.S. version had 2.0-liter engines. The BMW-owned U.S. version of the 320 turbo, such as this example, was campaigned by Team McLaren and driven by David Hobbs to 7 wins in the IMSA Camel GT series in 1977 and 1978. American Jim Busby also campaigned a sister car in the 1979 IMSA Camel GT series. Significantly, the 320 turbo engine was the test bed for the BMW Brabham BT52 that took Nelson Piquet to the 1983 Formula 1 World Championship.
Built in 1978 as the only 'lightweight' 320 completed by the factory and the last Group 5 320, it was to be driven by Hans Stuck and Ronnie Peterson. The car was used at only two events, Nurburgring and Silverstone before Peterson's death. Following ....[continue reading]