BMW defines the direction for the future - this time in touring cars. From 12th September, the Munich automobile manufacturer presents the motorsport version of the new BMW 3 Series at the 61st International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. From 2006, the car will be competing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and in many other racing series around the world. The 275 bhp racing car was developed by BMW Motorsport. It is the racing version of the special model BMW 320si, which will be on offer from BMW dealers as a limited edition from December 2005.
Like its production counterpart, the motorsport version of the BMW 320si will be driven by a powerful 2-litre four-cylinder in-line engine. The car complies with the Super 2000 regulations and is 45mm longer and 36mm wider than its predecessor.
With this car BMW will continue the tradition of customer sports in 2006. Apart from the World Touring Car Championship, in which BMW competes with national teams, the successful racing version of the BMW 320i is also racing in Championships in Denmark, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Asia. Until now, more than 100 racing sports kits of the E46 series have been sold to motorsport teams by the BMW racing parts distributors.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen says, "Touring cars without BMW is unthinkable - and BMW is equally unthinkable without touring cars. This is what made the brand grow, and we will stick to this tradition. Apart from works support we have always been keen to keep racing affordable for our customers and at the same time offer a high-performance package. This tradition is now continued by the racing version of the new BMW 3 Series. I am sure that this model will write further chapters of BMW's successful history."
In the World Touring Car Championship, the BMW 320i is currently in its last season. Six races prior to the season finale, Dirk Müller (GER) of BMW Team Deutschland leads the drivers' table, closely followed by his brand-mate Andy Priaulx (GBR) who competes for the BMW Team UK. The Manufacturers' Championship is also lead by BMW, which looks likely to bring the title home to Munich yet again.
Touring car racing is BMW's most successful discipline. The brand can boast an impressive list of successes: 20 European Championship wins with FIA sanction and winner of the first and only World Championship in 1987. Over the past couple of years, BMW came first in the manufacturers' competition of the FIA ETCC. In 2004, Priaulx won the drivers' title in the European Championship.
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