A few weeks ago we brought you a story on a factory restored, limited-edition BMW 530 MLE. You can read the story of this very special car, a precursor to all M cars at this link. As of a few days ago the factory owned road car is joined by an original BMW 530 MLE racecar.
The BMW 530 MLE was created so BMW South Africa could go racing in the mid-1970s. Two units of the first-generation BMW 5 Series (internal code E12) racecars were prepared to compete in the flagship Modified Production Series in South Africa. After active duty, in 1985, one of these cars was written off. The other, owned by BMW racer Peter Kaye-Eddie, became the subject of a full restoration by Evolution 2 Motorsport, in Johannesburg.
This week the race-winning BMW 530 MLE racecar, the only remaining version of this car in the world, and its road-going sibling were reunited at the Kyalami Grand Prix. The racecars notably claimed fifteen wins from 15 consecutive starts, allowing BMW to clinch three championship titles in three years.
The six-cylinder engine in the 530 MLE was a factory tweaked version of the same motor found in the 3.0L. Peak outputs were 147 kW/277 N.m of torque. Top speed was rated as 208km/h with a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 9,3 seconds.
Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH says: “Our brand is defined by its heritage. When I see the most successful racing 5 Series in the history of the company, I can understand where South Africans’ love of M stems from.”
Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, adds: “The BMW 530 MLE at the time demonstrated how competitive sporting events were the ideal setting to impress the motoring public with the performance of new vehicles, and it paved the way for BMW South Africa as a sporty brand and a serious motorsport contender in the country. To this day, M remains the most powerful letter in the world!”