12 November 2020
The BMW Group has established a dedicated event format for presentation of new models, technology innovations and pioneering vehicle concepts with #NEXTGen. The video streaming series “Chasing the iNEXT” is the centrepiece of #NEXTGen 2020. It presents the final design for the new technology flagship of the BMW Group for the first time. The pursuit of the future model also takes the protagonists shown in the short-film series into the history of the company. A visit to BMW Group Classic reveals how firmly striving for innovations, passion for progress and continuous development of Sheer Driving Pleasure are anchored in the DNA of the company.
Unpredictable conditions, the spectacular track trajectory of the Nordschleife, or North Loop, and the duration of one day and one night. The 24 Hour Race at the Nürburgring is regarded as one of the world’s most demanding endurance races. 73 corners, treacherous crests and steep inclines and gradients place monstrous demands on the drivers, teams and materials alike. For the past 50 years, BMW has been measuring itself against the greatest challenge that motor sport has to offer. And with breath-taking success. No other manufacturer has celebrated as many overall wins over the past 50 years as the marque from Munich in what is known as the “Green Hell”. 20 triumphs – including eight back-to-back wins – have been notched up so far, most recently this year the victory for the BMW M6 GT3 from the ROWE Racing Team. A BMW was also at the top of the winners’ list in the premiere year of the competition. Clemens Schickentanz and Hans-Joachim “Strietzel” Stuck took turns at the wheel of the legendary BMW 2002 ti and won the first 24 Hour Race at the Nürburgring. Back then, Stuck was only 19 years old and this provided the springboard for a career that took him all the way to Formula 1. “Strietzel” gained overall victory at the 24 Hour Race a massive three times – each time driving a BMW. The BMW 02 was by no means content with just one success. As early as 1971, a BMW 2002 Alpina drove to victory at the Marathon Race through the Eiffel forests.
The vehicle concept was twenty years old and the big successes in rally racing had been achieved almost 15 years previously when British driver Richard Longman drove a Mini 1275 GT on the race tracks of his home island. And agility once again triumphed over horse power, brain over brawn. Longman and his team had tuned the most athletic version of the Mini Clubman to around 120 hp but they were still not up to the job on the straights of the British Saloon Car Championship (BSCC). However, when it came to cornering, he was a match for all-comers. In 1978, Longman and his Mini 1275 GT took overall victory in the national touring car series and in 1979, he repeated the triumph. Mission accomplished for the blue, white and red power pack. Today, the Mini in its original condition – unchanged since its last race – is part of the vehicle collection at BMW Group Classic.
If the author of an encyclopaedia ever wanted an illustration for the concept of “engineering artistry”, a picture of the BMW R 7 would be appropriate. In 1934, engineer Alfred Böning designed this prototype that was undeniably inspired by the latter phase of art deco and styled with a generously dimensioned and elegantly curvaceous shell frame. Engine developer Leonhard Ischinger contributed an innovative twin-cylinder Boxer engine. Similar to today, prototypes already provided crucial inspiration for innovations and they were frequently ahead of their time. The BMW R 7 remained a unique special, but a number of details were incorporated into series production: the bottom-mounted camshaft of the Boxer engine, albeit 35 years later, and the hydraulically damped telescopic fork, which was already mounted in the BMW R 12 and BMW R 17 models in 1935. Some years later, the prototype was lost, only to surface again in 2015 when it underwent a comprehensive restoration. Today, the BMW R 7 is one of the showpieces of the BMW Museum in Munich. It is road ready, and now and again it gets an opportunity to show its mettle. In 2012, for example, it was presented at the Concours d’Elegance in California’s Pebble Beach and was honoured as winner of its vehicle class there.