The WorldSBK riders' Munich visit.
Munich. Both riders for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes, are normally at home on race tracks around the world. Now they have had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the many facets of the BMW Group during a visit to Munich. They were accompanied by a camera team during their visit. The result is a series of three short films that show the riders from different angle and provide some exclusive behind-the-scenes insights at the BMW Group in Munich.
Part 1: Discovering the BMW Heritage
Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty
The first part of the series concentrates on the history of BMW and BMW Motorrad. 2020 sees the boxer engine celebrating its 100th anniversary. That’s reason enough for Sykes and Laverty to explore the newest boxer engine model, the BMW R 18, Munich and the roots of BMW. Both are avowed fans of the BMW R 18. “The perfect way to relax,” is how Sykes describes a ride on a heritage bike. Laverty agrees: “After an exhausting weekend at the circuit, it is great to leave the racing position behind and go for a relaxing cruise.” In Munich, the two WorldSBK riders enjoy the exclusive opportunity to take the First Edition of the new BMW R 18 for a spin. After an introduction from Roland Stocker from the R 18 project, they take to the streets of Munich for the first part of their tour, the BMW Group Classic.
Today, BMW Group Classic is located in the same halls where the first BMW boxer engine was constructed 100 years ago. After a welcoming address from Ulrich Knieps, Head of BMW Group Classic, Ralph Huber and Benjamin Voss take the two Motorrad racers through the “hallowed halls” where countless treasures from the history of BMW are on display.
Sykes and Laverty find out everything there is to know about how motorcycle development started at BMW and hear anecdotes from the history of the BMW Group. For example, the two WorldSBK riders get to know a racing bike from another segment, the BMW R 80 G/S, with which Gaston Rahier won the Dakar Rally in 1985. Other funny stories, such as how Elvis Presley’s BMW 507 brings out the entertainer in Tom Sykes, are portrayed in the film “Discovering the BMW Heritage”. After visiting BMW Group Classic, Sykes and Laverty it’s time for Bavarian traditions. Together with Dr. Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, and BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers, they round off the day in a typical Munich establishment and reflect on their impressions of the "BMW history lesson" and the BMW R 18 ride through Munich.
You can watch the film “Discovering the BMW Heritage” here:
Part 2: Exploring the BMW Group
Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes
After Sykes and Laverty learned all about the history of BMW and BMW Motorrad in the first part of the film series, it’s then on to the present and up and away to start. Exposed, on the roof of the BMW ‘four-cylinder’, the corporate headquarters of the BMW Group – with a breathtaking view of Munich, the Olympic stadium and various BMW locations – the two racers are welcomed by BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director Marc Bongers.
Right next to the ‘four-cylinder’ is BMW Welt, which opened in 2007, in which all of the BMW Group brands come together under one roof. With more than three million guests each year, BMW Welt is one of the most-visited attractions in Bavaria.
Matt Champion explains some of the highlights of the exhibition to the duo. They take particular interest in the BMW Group brands with British origins: MINI and Rolls-Royce. Laverty and Sykes have the up close and personal wonderful feeling of sitting in a handcrafted Rolls-Royce, and learn interesting facts about how much attention to detail the luxury brand invests. And it goes without saying that a trip to BMW Welt couldn’t end without visiting the BMW Motorrad department to round things off.
Then things turn to motorsport. Bongers guides the two WorldSBK riders through the engine test bench of BMW Motorrad Motorsport and explains the details of development. Just how close everyone is literally at BMW is demonstrated by the fact that Sykes and Laverty only need to go around the corner after leaving the BMW Motorrad Motorsport building to get to BMW Motorsport. There they are greeted by Rudolf Dittrich, General Manager BMW Motorsport Vehicle Development, who shows the two motorcycle racers their four-wheeled colleagues’ world. BMW Motorrad Motorsport and BMW Motorsport collaborate in various areas, making use of synergies. Laverty and Sykes learn all about cars such as the BMW M4 GT4 and the BMW M8 GTE, which they feel at home in right away. They also have the opportunity to take an exclusive look at the BMW Motorsport simulator, as well as at the workshop in which the Formula E BMW i.FE20 is currently being prepared for its next outing.
You can watch the film ‘Exploring the BMW Group’ here:
Part 3: Experience BMW M
The BMW S 1000 RR and the BMW M4 GT4
In the third and final part of the video series, it’s all about M, the most powerful letter in the world: Laverty und Sykes immerse themselves in the high-performance world of BMW M. Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH, takes the duo on an exclusive tour through the M Studio and the workshop, showing them the current and upcoming high-performance BMW M automobiles. In addition to the production cars, this includes the BMW M2 CS Racing, a racing car with which the BMW M Customer Racing teams compete for example at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife.
After the theory, it’s on to the practical: Everyone knows that Sykes and Laverty can drift perfectly on two wheels. At BMW Driving Experience in Maisach, also part of BMW M GmbH, now they do it on four wheels – it’s donut time! So, plenty of action for the two WorldSBK riders to round off their trip to Munich.
You can watch the film “Experience BMW M” here: