One of the summer festivals for motorsport fans in Europe is the 24 Hours of Spa race held at the end of July at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. The 24 Hours of Spa is a traditional race for touring car held annually since 1924. BMW is one of the familiar makes in the 24 Hours of Spa race, and won numerous victories in touring car racing. The BMW M3 was homologated for Group A racing in 1987, and nearly 20 BMW M3s from many teams participated in the 24 Hours of Spa held from July 30 to 31, 1988. Not only to the same class competitors, the BMW M3 also showed its great performance to other bigger displacement cars such as Ford Sierra Cosworth, and Volvo 240 Turbo. The car number 56 from the BMW Motorsport GmbH was driven by Dieter Quester, Altfrid Heger and Roberto Ravaglia. It showed great victory by three laps difference from the second-placed Ford Sierra Cosworth.
The championship car, BMW M3, was a Group A touring car based on the E30 3 series. The BMW M3 was developed mainly by the BMW Motorsport GmbH, the BMW’s motorsport division. The body was equipped with blister fenders on the front and back to accommodate wider tread and larger tires. Moreover, the rear side window was designed inclined to improve aerodynamics, and the trunk was made accordingly to a high deck. Other changes included a rear wing and a front spoiler to enhance aerodynamics. With displacement 2.3 liters, the engine was based on the six-cylinder engine of BMW’s super sports car M1, and was reduced by two cylinders to make it four-cylinder in-line fitted at the front. The BMW M3 was homologated for Group A racing and with high tuning to produce 300 hp for maximum output. After that, the Evolution model was also developed, and the performance was upgraded such as enlarging the displacement to 2.5 liters. In order to qualify the production of 5000 units per year required for Group A homologation regulations, the engine was manufactured by BMW Motorsport, and the BMW headquarters was in charge of the production of the vehicle.
In 1987, the BMW M3 acquired homologation and took part in the race. The BMW M3 immediately showed its ability and won many victories in touring car races around the world until the 1990s.