Brought to the market as a replacement for the 1 Series Coupe , the 2 Series inherited everything that made the former a great, back-to-the-roots Bimmer . Introduced in 2013, the 2 Series lineup grew larger in a flash by incorporating the mandatory M235i and the future M2 guises. But unlike most BMWs, the 2 Series also gained a racing version under the M235i Racing moniker.
Why did BMW choose the M235i and not the more nimble and powerful M2 for a race car project you may ask? That’s easy. The M235i Racing is supposed to be an entry-level race car that small privateers and amateur drivers can afford. It’s not a race car that can win a head-to-head battle with the Audi R8 LMS Ultra , but it does provide the thrills of racing for less than $90,000. That may sound like a lot even for a BMW-badged vehicle, but it’s pretty cheap given today’s racing scene.
Introduced last year, the 2014 BMW M235i Racing is already doing what it knows best at the hands of private teams, but the Germans decided to step in and field an entry of their own at this year’s Nurburgring 24 Hours race.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW M235i Racing Nurburgring 24 Hours Edition.
Ugliest Livery of 2014 Candidate
Although the Nurburgring grid was packed with BMW M235i Racing vehicles, with 14 of them showing up for the event, BMW’s entry took center stage as the main attraction, thanks to its exclusive and a little overwhelming livery. Finished in the blue and red colors of the M Performance division, the race car pays tribute to the famous BMW Art Cars that used to wow the crowds back in the 1970s and 1980s. Though we can respect this car’s lineage, we can’t help but notice how extremely ugly it is.
Just like the regular M235i Racing, the Nurburgring 24 Hours race car lapped the Nordschleife with a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine under the hood. Aided by BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology, the mill sends 333 horsepower to the pavement, 11 more than the standard, road-going vehicle. Other enhancements include a limited-slip differential, a FIA-approved roll-cage, and motorsport-specific driver aids such as ABS, DSC and traction control.
The M235i Racing Nurburgring 24 Hours finished the race in 53rd. That may not sound as an achievement, but bear in mind that this year’s race brought together 165 race cars. Only the fact that the M235i was able to race for 24 hours continuously is something BMW can be proud of.
The BMW M235i Racing raced alongside many vehicle at the Nurburgring 24 Hours, but the Opel Astra OPC Cup was its closest rival as far as performance and specifications go. Devel oped as a successor to the Nurburgring-winning Astra V8 Coupe, the OPC Cup is a beefed up version of the production car modified with input from the company’s Motorsport division.
The coupe received a widebody kit set to enhance its aerodynamics, had its curb weight lowered via carbon-fiber components and gained high-performance chassis parts, including a Bilstein performance suspension and Performance Friction brakes. The turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine was also updated to generate 300 horsepower, slightly more than the production coupe.
Gallery Opel Astra OPC Cup
BMW Motorsport will compete with a real eye-catcher at this weekend’s Nürburgring 24 Hours (DE). The BMW Motorsport design team has given the BMW M235i Racing with the appropriate start number 235 an extraordinary look, reminiscent of the famous Art Cars of former years, for the race in the Eifel Mountains.
Among those in action at the wheel of the works-assisted car will be two motorsport journalists Marcus Schurig (DE) and Jethro Bovingdon (GB). They will be supported over the course of the marathon venture by BMW Motorsport Junior Alexander Mies (DE) and former MotoGP rider Alex Hofmann (DE). Hofmann will be out on track in his role of expert for TV station Sport1, which is broadcasting the 24-hour race live, and will provide spectacular images of the Nordschleife (DE) from the on-board camera. Sport1 will show regular footage from the cockpit of the BMW M235i Racing.
“I am delighted we will get to see this model at the 24-hour race, as well as the many BMW M235i Racings fielded by our privateer teams,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “The livery on this special BMW M235i Racing is fantastic. I must pay a huge compliment to the staff in the Design department. With almost 50 cars in the field, the variety of BMW racing cars at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife is once again mighty impressive in 2014. However, this particular car adds a very special splash of colour and I am certain it will go down well with the fans.”
The BMW M235i Coupé’s motorsport genes are clear to see in the production version, thanks to the aerodynamically optimised chassis design. And the car is driven by the most powerful petrol engine ever developed for a BMW M Performance car: a straight six-cylinder with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology. With a capacity of 2,979 cm³, the racing version generates a mighty 333 hp (245 kW).
Motorsport-specific driver aids, such as ABS, DSC and traction control, ensure that the BMW M235i Racing can also be driven safely by those new to motorsport. The equipment also includes a mechanical limited-slip differential, which is also available for the BMW M235i Coupé in the original BMW Parts range, and built-in components like the FIA-approved safety cage. The BMW M Performance Parts range has also provided components, including the rear and front spoilers, the diffusor and the carbon wing mirrors.
The car was in action at the qualifying race for the Nürburgring 24 Hours back in April, and will start the race from 17th place overall.