Bucharest/Sibiu. Sibiu Rally Challenge, held between 20-23 August, offered a full menu to motorsport enthusiasts: special stages held on legendary Transfăgărăşan and the sixth stage of the National Rally Championship. BMW entered a special model in this event, dedicated to the Romanian pilots who have performed with the brand throughout a racing history of nearly 80 years. With a crew made of Radu Gurămultă (journalist AutoExpert, 4×4 Adventure) and Alexander Şeremet (Communications Manager BMW Romania) BMW 2 Series model participated in the regularity rally, without gaining points for the official standings.
The design was dominated by the portraits of Petre Cristea and Marin Dumitrescu, two of the most important Romanian racing drivers in history. Their stylized images, reproductions of photographs taken after some of their most important victories with BMW (Eifelrennen 1939, respectively Sinaia 1950), were placed on the side of the car, on the rear wings. Also, the doors were engraved with the names of pilots who have performed with BMW over time in various competitions – rally, hillclimb, speed circuit or historic cars competitions. The design was completed with the BMW Motorsport stripes, the famous red-purple-blue tricolor. They covered the entire length of the car – from the front bumper on to the hood, roof, over the trunk and rear bumper.
The project motto was to „Let’s make history!” It is intended as a token of appreciation for all of the Romanian race drivers who have performed with BMW and who marked the brand image. At the same time it is an approach to better know the brand’s history motorsport.
The history of Romanian race drivers’ performance who competed with BMW started in the second half of the ’30s. It was a time when BMW 328 made a career on circuits all around the world, including in street racing in Brasov, Bucharest or at Feleac International Hillclimb Competition. Petre Cristea is certainly one of the most important drivers that competed with BMW 328. His most memorable victory with this model was to be achieved in 1939, in the famous Eifelrennen race at Nürburgring in front of the BMW factory drivers. A decade later, Marin Dumitrescu marked the first important moments in his career with a BMW 328, modified in the early 50s at the Vulcan Factory. It was the model with which he has dominated the circuit races of the period. The hillclimb victory in Sinaia, 1950, would remain in the memory of Marin Dumitrescu as one of the greatest successes of his long career.
The communist period has brought a long break in motorsport and made it very difficult to participate in competitions with models manufactured outside the iron curtain. But there are some exceptions, including Marin Dumitrescu competing briefly with a BMW 2002. Perhaps the most remarkable appearance is that of Laurentiu Borbely who becomes national rally champion with a BMW 2002. Today, exactly 40 years apart, Lorinz Borbely, his son, drives the same car, refurbished, in the historic and hillclimb races.
The present has brought participants in rally racing, hillclimb or speed circuit, with champions in various categories. Historical models are a constant presence also in motorsport events in Romania. In addition, more and more pilots are participating in the Formula BMW program with notable performances.
Statements about the project
Radu Gurămultă, race driver of the crew, journalist: “Sibiu Rally Challenge was a noble challenge for us. The starting point for this project was a special one, which is to honor Romanian pilots who competed with BMW; and not just because we accepted the challenge of racing on Transfăgărăşan aboard a BMW, but because I do not think there are many brands that can boast of having participated in the automotive competitions in Romania and other countries, consistently, from the 30s up nowadays.
Regarding the experience I had with Alex, I can say it was downright crazy – from ecstasy to agony, sometimes. Although we weren’t gaining any points in the category in which we participated, we took it quite seriously (maybe too seriously at times) and we tried to be as competitive as we could. For me, as an occasional participant at rallies in the co-driver position, the experience of sitting behind the wheel and listen Alex’s indications will be very important. I like to think that I’ve learned a lot of small things which I will apply from now on and I hope that this issue will come as a support for my teammate.
About Sibiu Rally Challenge we have only good things to say, it was a rally made out of sensational ingredients, except the demanding weather on Saturday. I would like to thank all those who made our madness possible! I would also like to send a good thought to all the Romanian pilots who have made history with BMW and gave us good reason to dream and live our amazing story on Transfăgărăşan. ”
Alexander Seremet, co-driver of the crew, communications manager: “I must admit that the original idea belonged to Radu, both of us being under the strong influence of the documentary < About BMW history in car racing.< From our discussion about the film emerged the motto of our project - << Let's make history! >>”.
I think we were both a bit overwhelmed by all the names we had on the car and we took our participation very seriously, although we was a demonstrative team. I fought for every second and I felt a little of what it means to participate in a motorsport competition.
I took it very seriously and with great emotion because we were carrying a very valuable << load >>, which we respect a lot. Fortunately Sibiu Rally Challenge gave us the perfect ingredients for such a project. I’ll never forget the Great Square, full of people who greeted us, it was a very special moment for me. And then I had the opportunity to drive, in the contest, on a legendary road – Transfăgărăşan. It was a memorable moment for our personal history.
I want to thank everyone who supported us and especially to all who stopped to read the names on our car. And most importantly, I want to thank all the Romanian pilots who competed with BMW over time, whether or not engraved on our car – they made our brand history! ”
Pilots’ names written on the BMW Series 2 “Let’s make history!”
The interwar period
Petre Cristea, Marin Dumitrescu, Alexander Papan, Dan Tătuşescu, Alexe de Vassal, Constantin Voluntaru, Vintilă Frumuşanu Ion Bolony Valentin Tantareanu Alexander Uta, Jean Calcianu, Ion Luca Niculescu, H. Rosenauer, Marin Butculescu.
Rally, hillclimb, historical cars competitions
Lawrence Borbely Borbely Lorinz, Eugen Ionescu Cristea Horatiu Ionescu Cristea, Horst Graef, Gunther Graef, Dorin Toma, Eduard TONTSCH Michael Beldie, Costi Stratnic Adrian Bort.
Speed circuit, Formula BMW
Ovidiu Mazilu Mihai Marinescu Doru Sechelariu, Mihnea Stefan