Happy Birthday To The Father Of The Most Powerful F1 Engines

It's not only Jack Brabham's birthday this week, but also Paul Rosche's, and guess what the two of them came up with in the early eighties? The Brabham BMW BT52 with a 1.5 turbo engine that gave Nelson Piquet the Formula One World Championship title in 1983.


The tiny engine had 16 valves, a turbocharger and – for the first time in F1 – digital motor electronics in order to be capable of around 800 horsepower at standard boost. However, settings for the qualifying were slightly different...

When asked about the F1 engine's maximum power output, Rosche once famously replied: "It must have been around 1,400 hp; we don't know for sure because the dyno didn't go beyond 1,280 hp."

Of course Rosche's brilliant engineering skills didn't stop there. His nickname at BMW was "Nocken-Paul" (Camshaft Paul) due to his work on calculating camshafts for racing engines in the sixties. His team came up with the 2.0-liter turbo of the BMW 2002 that won the 1969 European Touring Car Championship, as well as the six-cylinder engines of the BMW 320 and BMW 323i in the late seventies.


When he moved to BMW Motorsport GmbH in 1975, he initially headed development of production and racing engines for the BMW M1.

After creating that legendary 1.5 turbo for Formula 1, his went on designing the 2.0-liter 16V which became very successful in the Formula 2 European Championship. Still, you probably know more about the engine of the first M3, the S14, also designed by Rosche. His other contribution to the M brand was the 6.0-litre V12 engine that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995 and 1999.


Eighty very well deserved candles on that cake, cheers Paul!


Photo credit: BMW

Share This Story

Get our newsletter