ON-BOARD. ’82 BMW 528i touring car at Goodwood

The 1982 European Touring Car Championship-winning BMW 528i is pulled out of retirement for another spin on-track at Goodwood

The 5 Series’ time at the top in the European Touring Car Championship was brief, but considering it pulled a Brawn GP and won the big one during its only year of competition – against Jaguar, of all brands – it didn’t exactly need to hang around. That’s not to say expectations weren’t heaped mightily on the 528i’s boxy shoulders though ahead of its 1982 debut season: BMW pilots had taken all bar one of the drivers championships since 1973, the marque itself totting up seven manufacturers’ crowns with the 3.0 CSL, the 320 and the 635 CSI.

Ahead of 1982 though, BMW looked to have been railroaded. New homologation regulations for Group A endurance touring cars meant 5000 road-going models had to be built each year before its track-based counterpart was eligible for competition. For the monstrously powerful 635, it was a no go. For the company’s newly conceived 5 Series, however…

Stripped of a but a seat, a steering wheel, pedals and a rather flimsy roll cage (ah the 80s…), the 528i ducked below the 1035kg kerb weight line, power from its 2.8-litre straight six being ramped up from 180bhp to just over 240bhp. A new five-speed dogleg gearbox and a specially devised aerokit from specialists Eggenberger also meant that success came early for the 528i. Erstwhile champion Umberto Grano (already the reigning title-holder) took five wins on the trot in the first half of the season, and while the top step of the podium would remain elusive for the remainder of the year, the 528i stunned many with a 1-2-3-4-5-6 clean sweep at that year’s Spa 24 Hours, the ETCC’s blue ribbon event. It would the ninth of 22 wins at Spa-Francorchamps for BMW thus far.


The 5 series would ultimately be pipped to the manufacturers’ crown by Alfa Romeo – in the last round rather cruelly – but the driver’s title was in the bag, despite hefty competition from Tom Walkinshaw Racing’s Jaguar XJ-S. V12-powered, and thus occupying a grey area in the rulebook, the XJS was devastatingly quick, and only poor reliability prevented the Jag from being a serious title contender. Indeed, Walkinshaw himself would go on to take Spa glory and ETCC honours two years later with the XJS, but by then, BMW – homologation rules accounted for – had reverted back to the 635CSI. The Eggenberger’s time in the spotlight was over.

Temporarily at least. 35 years later, the ’82 ETCC championship-winning BMW would be put through its on-track paces once again at Goodwood with former British Touring Car Champion Andrew Jordan behind the wheel. You’ll want to check out the on-board footage from 1m 30s onwards… 

Enjoy this BMW 528i video? 

You can check out more BMW stories HERE, and more Goodwood features HERE

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