The chronicle of our seemingly never-ending passion for the 24-hour race on the banks of the river Sarthe dates way back to the 1930s. BMW represented the German automobile industry when the endurance classic was held for the 16th time from 17th to 18th June 1939. The grid at the Circuit des 24 Heures featured three BMW 328. The roadster, which was built in Eisenach, had made its race debut in the Eifelrennen on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. It won the 2000 cm³ class (without compressor) in the Green Hell, setting an average speed of 101.6 km/h with Ernst Jakob Henne at the wheel.
The BMW 328 was the dream sportscar of its era. 464 cars were built by 1940. One of them – the number 26 car – demolished the opposition in Le Mans, winning the 1501 to 2000 cm³ class. In doing so, it recorded the maiden class victory for BMW at arguably the most iconic 24-hour race in the world. 2019 is the 80th anniversary of this success.