BMW 528i Group A: From family saloon to European Champion
In 1982, the FIA replaced Groups 1 and 2 with Group N for standard touring cars and Group A for modified touring cars. For that year’s European Touring Car Championship almost all entrants prepared a Group A car. To qualify for FIA approval, a minimum of 5000 identical models had to be built in 12 consecutive months. Since BMW had sold nowhere near that number of its impressive 635 CSI coupe, the Bayerische Motoren Werke decided to put up their 528i 4-door saloon car for homologation. The family saloon did not disappoint, winning the 1982 European Championship at its first attempt.
Together with specialists Eggenberger, BMW transformed approximately 20 road-528i cars into Group A touring cars. The 528i was stripped from all the unnecessary components to bring it down to the 1,035 kg weight limit for its displacement bracket. The fuel-injected straight six engine was tuned to produce close to 240 bhp compared to the 180 bhp by the production engine. Back in 1982 the SPA 24 Hours race was part of the ETCC calendar for the first time in 5 years and the prestigious international event was won by the Belgian / German Juma Joosen Team with a 528i.
Although successful BMW abandoned the 528i and switched to the 635 CSi the following year. The ETCC ceased to exist after 1988, due to escalating costs. By then, the FIA had allowed ‘Evolution’ models to be homologated, and it was special cars such as the BMW M3 Evo and Ford Sierra RS 500 that dominated the grids and results.
This BMW 528i Group A is an exact replica of the SPA 24 Hours race winning BASTOS Joosen Juma car. 1990 and 1998 Dutch rally champion Coen Vink built the car to Group A specs. The 528i produces around 280 horse power, 35 more than the 1982 original. During the Classic GP Assen Vink will race the car in the Bimmer Challenge.