Remembering Paul Rosche – legendary BMW engineer dies aged 82
Rosche was the man behind the McLaren F1’s now iconic V12 engine and much of BMW’s F1 success
Legendary BMW engineer Paul Rosche died earlier this week aged 82.
An employee of BMW from 1957 to 1999, Rosche was instrumental in securing the brand the 1983 F1 Drivers’ World Championship as an engine supplier, the first time a turbocharged car had won.
His engineering expertise helped to extract close to 1400bhp from the boosted 1.5-litre four-cylinder M12 engine. If rumours are true, the blocks for this engine were taken from 100,000-mile-old road models, weathered in the rain for strengthening, and then fitted to the Brabham B52 and forced to handle 50psi of boost.
Perhaps his most famous achievement came with the McLaren F1. At the heart of Woking’s supercar was a naturally aspirated 6.1-litre BMW V12 engine, designed by Rosche and producing 627bhp and 479lb ft yet, as Andrew Frankel put it in the original Autocar road test, it was “docile enough to perform sweetly for the most inexperienced of drivers”.
The unit then spawned a racing version that powered the McLaren F1 GTR, a model that eventually went on to win the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours, beating thoroughbred racing prototypes along the way.
Rosche’s final engine was the BMW engine of the Williams FW22, which competed in the 2000 F1 season. He retired that year.