What got you into BMW? If you’re like more than a few of us, grainy videos of old DTM races may have played a role. In those videos, the E30 M3 can be appreciated in its natural environment, dominating the competition on circuits in Germany and the rest of Europe. Before DTM become a sensation during the 1980s when BMW three times (once the 635CSi and twice with the E30 M3), though, it was preceded by DRM, or Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft. Established in 1972, DRM is considered the precursor or predecessor of DTM, and initiated competition between the likes of BMW, Porsche, Ford, and others.
Although Zakspeed initially dominated DRM competition with the Ford Capri and Escort, Schnitzer Motorsport won the championship in 1978 with a BMW E21 320i Turbo. Porsche would follow up on that success in 1979 with the 935 K3, and within a few years, DTM began in 1984, with FIA Group A cars taking the place of the previous Group 5 and Group C cars. DTM went on to become a showcase of competition between BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and ushered in the creation of cars like the E30 M3 Evolution and its subsequent iterations along with its chief competitor, the Mercedes-Benz 190E Evolution.
It all started in the 1970s with DRM though, and at the beginning of this month, the DRM Revival was held at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria by DTM Classic. BMW Classic was there, along with BMW Motorsport architects including Jochen Neerpasch and racing driver Marc Surer. Also on hand was the BMW Junior Team, made up of drivers Dan Harper, Max Hesse, and Neil Verhagen. Surer raced the 1977 BMW 320 Group 5, which was finished in the same BMW Junior Team Design it wore during the late 1970s, and BMW Classic interviewed Surer along with Harald Grohs, another former BMW DTM racing driver, among others.
Check out the video for all of the highlights of the weekend, and a taste of the kind of racing action that effectively put BMW on the map.—Alex Tock
[Photos and video courtesy BMW AG.]