BMW is set to take centre stage at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016, and to celebrate we’re giving one of you the chance to win an exhilarating track day experience simply by entering our free prize draw.

The German car brand turns 100 this year, and will be honoured at Goodwood 2016 thanks to its legendary motoring heritage and historic successes in motorsport. This year’s festival of speed is titled ‘Full Throttle — The Endless Pursuit of Power’, and we reckon BMW will steal the show when the event kicks off on the 23rd June.

Whether you’re attending this year’s festival or not, you could still win an incredible track day experience courtesy of Prestone. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is submit your details in the form below. We’ll then select one winner at random — so good luck!

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Keen to find out more about BMW? To shed light on this historic car manufacturer before it steals the show at Goodwood on the 23rd June, here we present 10 things you never knew about BMW.

 

BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG

Ever wondered what BMW actually stands for? Well here you go, in all its ultra-German glory: Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. Add the full length ‘AG’ to the end (Aktiengesellschaft) and its name becomes even more of a mouthful. Small wonder it’s now universally known by its three-letter abbreviation.

 

The company began life building WW1 airplanes

 Like SAAB, BMW began life as a modest airplane manufacturer, and was responsible for building the engine that powered the plane of infamous German fighter pilot, the Red Baron. After the war, BMW was unable to continue building planes due to restrictions enforced by the Versailles Armistice Treaty, and so turned its attention to cars and motorcycles — and the rest is history.

the red baron a plane with BMW engine 

The BMW logo pays homage to Bavaria — not an aircraft propeller!

BMW’s famous roundel logo has been around since the company was born in 1916, and does not, as so many believe, depict an aircraft propeller. Instead, the logo pays homage to the German state of Bavaria (whose colours are blue and white), as well as the former logo of the Rapp Motorenwerke company.

 

BMW didn’t design its first car

BMW may be considered innovators today but when the team made their first car after the Great War, they were copying an English design. The BMW Dixi 3/15 was a big hit in Germany but it was essentially the same as an English Austin, American Bantam, and Japanese Datsun. After this blip, BMW got its finger out and started designing its own cars.

 

The brand built the world’s fastest motorbike in 1937

 In the first half of the 20th century, BMW weren’t interested in building everyday cars but death traps driven by lunatics. This insanity piqued in 1937, when the firm launched its 173.7mph motorbike — the fastest ever made at the time. The bike featured an aerodynamic body that completely covered the rider, leaving just their head to be decapitated in an accident.

 

BMW almost became part of the Mercedes Group

Following its misadventures in building commercially unviable cars and motorbikes, BMW faced bankruptcy in the late 1950s. As a result rival German car firm Mercedes attempted a hostile takeover of the company, buying up shares like they were going out of fashion. But the top brass at BMW rallied, and with help from its staff, managed to buy its way out of hot water. And so began an intense rivalry between the two firms which still lingers today.

 

BMW’s M Division has unusual origins

 BMW’s M division is a subsidiary of the main brand, and concentrates on transforming standard bimmers into ferocious track-goers. The division was first formed in the 1970s, when BMW agreed a deal with Lamborghini to create a race car. But this wasn’t to be, and the Italians pulled out at the eleventh hour citing financial shortcomings. Following Giorgetto Giugiaro’s design, BMW eventually finished the M1, and the M division was born.

 BMW cars top facts

It made its first electric car in 1972

Long before global warming posed a threat to the global motor industry, BMW created an all-electric version of its hugely popular 1602 saloon car. Containing 12 batteries and capable of driving just 19 miles at a time, the electric 1602 was a simple exercise in engineering, but demonstrated BMW’s willingness to innovate.

 

BMW still makes parts for its old cars

Unlike other car brands, which cease making spare parts for their old cars ten years after they were first new — BMW still manufactures components for all of its cars, going back to before WWII. This makes classic BMWs extremely sought-after, as its possible to restore them to their original condition using official BMW parts.

 

BMW HQ pays homage to its legendary four-cylinder engines

 In the 1960s, BMW built some of the best four-cylinder engines the world has ever seen, helping to cement the brand as one of the finest car manufacturers in the world. To pay tribute to these fabled engines, Austrian architect Karl Schwanzer designed BMW’s Munich headquarters to resemble a four-cylinder unit.

 

Remember, it couldn’t be easier to enter your prize draw for your chance to bag a white-knuckle track day experience. Just enter your details in the form above for your chance to win this brilliant prize. You can read the terms and conditions here.

 

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Image credits: Ivan Turkouski, Alan Wilson, Paul Austin