BGMSport unleashes howling Group A BMW M3

Ex-Frédéric Dor machine thrills at Firle Beacon Hillclimb

Eyebrows were definitely raised when Prodrive plumped for a race-ready BMW M3 to replace the MG Metro 6R4 as the focus of its rally program in 1987.

Those same eyebrows headed in the other direction when Bernard Béguin snatched Tour de Corse victory from beneath the noses of a bevy of factory Lancias and Renaults early in the car’s first season at the sport’s highest level.

The pokey 2.3-liter engine (which ultimately offered 300bhp), aligned with a Prodrive-derived six-speed dog ’box and installed aboard a featherweight chassis, made for a very special car.

More than that, it made heroes of the likes of François Chatriot, Marc Duez and Patrick Snijers – to say nothing of Beguin. Through the late 1980s, those boys howled their way into the hearts of rally fans the world over.

Time to add Ian Gwynne’s name to that list. Having refettled DirtFish owner Steve Rimmer’s ex-Frédéric Dor M3 (an all-original Prodrive car), Ian took it to last month’s Firle Beacon Hillclimb and made some noise.

“The M3’s a fantastic car,” said Gwynne. “When people think about rear-wheel-drive Group A cars, they inevitably think of the Ford Sierra Cosworth, but with a naturally aspirated engine and no turbo lag, the M3 often had the legs on the Sierra.

“It’s been a pleasure preparing this car and obviously a big pleasure driving it. Thanks to everybody at Firle Beacon for a great event and, obviously, to Steve Rimmer for the keys to the car!”

Words:David Evans