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Covering Sports cars & Supercars

The Design of Speed

1985-1992 BMW M3

📸: Photo courtesy

This car is the mouse that roared, and we say that with all due respect. BMW's performance chops were already well-established by earlier models (like the amazing 2002tii), but as they say, racing improves the breed. And racing homologation rules are pretty much what forced BMW to create street legal versions of their successful touring car series racers. One of the many racing rules was that the race car must reflect the street car aerodynamically, which is why the big basket handle wing was kept on the street version.

📸: Photo courtesy

Compared to the wings on the competition (notably, the Mercedes Benz Evolution), the BMW wing is relatively tame. It appears that the designers wanted to minimize drag at the expense of ultimate downforce.

📸: Photo by Rudolph Strickler, courtesy of Wikimedia

When BMW moved to the next generation of M3 (E36), the basket handle wing was only available on the special M3 Lightweight.

📸: Photo by Mr Choppers, courtesy of Wikimedia

The E36 version of the wing appears to be much more aggressive in its pursuit of serious downforce. Unfortunately, BMW only made 120 or so examples of this desirable car.

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