Monday, 16 May 2011


In the late eighties, while BTCC's Class A was being dominated by the Ford Sierra Cosworths, Class B was filled with the heady Teutonic howl of the BMW M3. Championed by Frank Sytner in the 1987 season, the car was developed for '88 by Sytner and the Prodrive team, going on to finish with an impressive 110 points. (For comparison, Andy Rouse finished the season in his Sierra with 95 points, having won 9 of the 12 races!)

The E30 continued to dominate its class though 1989 (although John Cleland won overall in his Class C Astra), but then 1990 saw a change in the rules. To combat the unstoppable horsepower of the Sierra RS500s and the rapidly increasing development costs across the board, the tiered class system was streamlined into just two classes: one for the surviving Group A cars, and one for 2.0-litre cars; then, in 1991, the Group A cars were outlawed and it was just the 2.0-litre cars left competing. This was good news for BMW, as their dominance was now total, rather than just in-class.

There were three works teams running E30s in 1991 (with Prodrive alone running four cars), so it's not surprising that, when you look back now, it seems that it was all BMWs. It was a great year for the M3, with Will Hoy taking the title in his Listerine/Omega-liveried car, but this was the last year for the E30. For the 1992 season, BMW moved to the E36 318is. And that's another story...

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