Classic Race Cars

BMW 700 Coupe in motorsport

April 15, 2010

BMW 700 Mountain Race 1961The sporting qualities of the BMW 700 Coupé came out quite clearly from the start, shortly after the beginning of the car’s production in July 1959. The first Coupés were to be admired on the track before the end of the year, for example in the Sahara-Lappland Rally. In 1960 BMW’s fast Coupés brought home both gold medals and titles, Hans Stuck clinching the German Hill-Climbing Championship once again at the wheel of a BMW 700 at the age of 60.

This clearly created significant demand among many customers for an even more powerful engine, with the big day coming in summer 1961, when BMW proudly presented the BMW 700 Sport to the press at the Nürburgring Race Track. With its compression ratio increased to 9:1, an even more dynamic camshaft and Solex twin-carburettors supplying the fuel, the two-cylinder boxer engine now developed 40 hp at 5,700 rpm. This sporting package was rounded off by an optional sports gearbox and an even harder suspension featuring firmer dampers and an anti-roll torsion bar. The power unit, in turn, was sufficient for acceleration to 100 km/h in just under 20 seconds and a top speed of 135 km/h or 84 mph. All the customer had to pay for this extra driving pleasure was DM 550,–

This “hot” version of the BMW 700 quickly became a legend in the early ’60s particularly in motorsport, and was lauded by fans as the “little fighter”. And indeed, at its time the car put up some exciting duels against competitors from both Steyr-Puch and Abarth.

Moving on to works racing, BMW prepared two truly outstanding performers parallel to one another: the 700 GT in 1960 and, a year later, the BMW 700 S. And in 1961 BMW presented the 700 RS with tubular spaceframe and an aluminium body.

The dynamic BMW 700 remained seriously competitive and in most cases even superior for years to come, boasting various levels of tuning and engine power. And when BMW’s two-cylinder sports car finally reached the end of its career, Hubert Hahne, one of the big stars at the time in touring car racing, had brought home the majority of his wins in this outstanding performance model. At the same time the BMW 700 had already become the ideal car for young drivers making their first appearance in racing at the time.


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