BMW Trivia: Award Winning Turbo Engine Edition

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piquet BT52

The “International Engine of the Year” has been awarded to BMW 6 times, with the company’s most recent wins coming in the years 2007 & 2008 for the fabulous N54B30.  The 3 liter, twin turbo, inline six made right around 325 horse power and generated 330 pound feet of torque. Customers could put the engine in a 1,3,5,Z4, or X6 model, and enjoy the mill’s power and responsiveness for the live long day.  The power of a V8 found in a smaller and more efficient inline 6 put BMW ahead of the competition. That wasn’t the first time BMW shocked the world with their ability to put together a turbo-charged engine. Do you know the first time BMW beat the world’s best at building at turbo charged engine?

The 1983 French connection of Renault and Alain Prost were the odds on favorite to win the season’s Formula 1 title. When the checkered flag fell in the last race of the season in South Africa, Renault’s season had gone up in smoke and it was Nelson Piquet who captured the drivers’ title in his Brabham BMW BT52.

The car was designed by Gordon Murray, the engine builder was Paul Rosche and what they did was nothing short of incredible. “Camshaft Paul” took a four cylinder BMW block made the new electronic ignition and injection work with as few hiccups as possible. Rosche put together an engine that in qualifying trim made more horsepower than what could be measured back at the BMW factory! It made, at the very least, a staggering 1280HP and some say the power went all the way up to 1600HP.

The engine soon became referred to as the M12/13 miracle engine.

With the help of BASF to synthesize a special fuel, and Bosch, who helped create a system to monitor telemetry at the trackside, an industry first, the M12/13 revved all the way to 11,000 RPM and had no problem with temperatures of over 2,000 degrees.

Piquet drove to three first place finishes, and another five podiums, all of which added up to a Drivers’ Championship for 1983.

All the more remarkable, the BMW Turbo engine was in just its second year of Formula 1 racing. In a time when the racing was so dangerous and the equipment was so unreliable, BMW bucked the trend and made Nelson Piquet a 2 times world champion.



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