BMW has had a long history in motor-sport over the past century right from the time of its inception as an automobile company and the inception of the motor-sport, to its recent creation, the M3 GTR2 Race car. The company has not only participated in the races in various capacities but has an heritage of successful stints in many of them.
During 1925-26, the racing version of BMW's first motorcycle (R32), the R37 with its 16bhp and top speed of 71 mph (which were facilitated by the boxer engine) went on to win three German Championships along with approximately 200 other prizes in the racing arena. With a continued winning streak in various races, one particular BMW motorcycle, that of Schorsch Meier won him the Isle of Man's Senior Tourist Trophy.
By the end of the 1930's the company’s motorcycles had 8 Championships (German), 13 foreign Championships, 36-day trophies, 1817 off-road races gold medals and 762 road race prizes to their name.
Post war, the winning streak continued with BMW motorcycles winning the German Sidecar Championship in 1950, 13 off-road championships (German) during 1954-65, World Sidecar Championships every year from 1954-66 and six more till 1974. The year 1980 saw the BMW R80 G/S win in the Paris-Dakar Rally with three other BMW motorcycles winning in 1983, 84 and 85. Granada-Dahor's title went to BMW for the fifth time in 1999.
On the car front, BMW registered its first victory in the Alpine Rally when the BMW Dixi (which it was manufacturing under British license) scaled the highest Alpine passes in 1929. During the 1930's, the company first made headlines in Nurburgring with the victory of its 315/1 and also gained acclaim with the 328 winning many races including the Mille Miglia, RAC Rally of 1939 and a first in its class in 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same year proving that the car was unbeatable in its class.
The success of the 328 bestowed BMW and presented it firmly with a reputation as a sporty car producer. However its cars of 1950's couldn't add much to the reputation owing to the end of the Second World War. But the Touring Cars of the later decades were going to be instrumental in reaffirming and re-establishing BMW’s marquee in the motorsport arena. With the introduction of the New Class, the M10 engine won in the Formula 2 and the M12/13 engine even won the Formula One Championship in 1983.
In order to support the company's racing efforts, the BMW M GmbH was established in 1972. The first car out of this division's stables was the M1 followed by the 1980 M3 (E30 M3) which has won more races than any other BMW model in history. Hence, many consider this car as the most successful road race car in the world. These were followed by the 318 and 320 which won various Touring Championships as well.
In 2006, BMW, which had been participating in the Formula One in various capacities and mostly on the sidelines, became a constructor by acquiring Sauber. With these events the company propelled itself in the motorsport arena and ever since has been gaining momentum in various sectors of motorsport. Over the years, it has garnered acclaim and accolades and seems to be on the right road map zoom even further.