Classic BMW motor racing icon going under the hammer
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While all the focus has been on the evolution of Formula 1, consider too the changes that have unfolded in touring car racing.
Categories that once derived their cars from production-based machines, like the Supercars Championship and Germany's DTM, now use control parts for just about everything — with the car's body popped on top like Lego.
As such, the market for old-school touring car sales is on the up. This is particularly true for anything from the worlds of Super Touring or Group A. In the case of this Labatt's BMW M3 E30 — the latter.
Silverstoneauctions.com in England have listed the pint-sized bruiser among the selection at their upcoming Classic Race Car Sale on July 27. And they expect it to sell for between £140,000-£180,000. That's NZ$250,000–$320,000.
The story of the E30 M3 is one of the great touring-car tales. It was, like many performance cars from the period, a homologation special produced in order to allow the manufacturer to put its best foot forward in motorsport. In particular, BMW were taking on the international touring car circuit, which included the British Touring Car Championship, World Touring Car Championship, DTM, Australian Touring Car Championship, and many more.
And, against the might of plenty of bigger, higher-displacement cars, it won. Lots. Everywhere. Among those wins was a Kiwi — Jim Richards claiming honours in the 1987 ATCC title. It was a popular platform, famed for its crisp handling and screaming naturally aspirated 2.3-litre engine. It eventually got overtaken by the turbocharged alternatives from Ford and Nissan, but it still holds a place close to the hearts of many a tin-top fan.
The story then continued. What was initially a homologation special became one of BMW's most loved nameplates. It's also since spawned a range of different 'M' machines throughout the BMW range.
This particular car is one driven by former BTCC champion Tim Harvey in 1991 (a season won by the alternative E30 M3 driven by the late Will Hoy). It might not have been a car that achieved glory (just the one win in the season to its name), but it is one of the more attractive and popular paint schemes from the period. And also one of the last Group A machines to race in the BTCC before they adopted their now hallowed Super Touring era.
Cars like these are much loved among the motorsport populace these days. And that's only set to grow and grow.