1500HP BMW Bravo F1 – 1.5L M10 Turbo

1500HP BMW Bravo F1 – 1.5L M10 Turbo
The BMW M12/13 turbo 1500 cc 4-cylinder turbocharged Formula One engine, based on the standard BMW M10 engine introduced in 1961, powered the F1 cars of Brabham, Arrows, Benetton and won the world championship in 1983. It also powered the BMW GTP and in the 2.0 liter naturally aspirated form, the successful March Engineering Formula Two cars. The BMW M12/13 turbo engine is the most powerful BMW engine ever produced and from a race perspective, the most successful BMW engine of all time.[citation needed]

In 1983, Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet won the Formula One World Championship driving a Brabham BT52 powered by the turbocharged BMW M12 engine, which in 1983 was producing approximately 850 bhp (630 kW) in qualifying trim and 640 bhp (480 kW) for the races. Piquet, who won the Brazilian, Italian and European Grands Prix in 1983, won the championship by just two points in front of Renaults Alain Prost (Renault had pioneered turbocharging in F1 in 1977, but would be destined never to win the World Championship in the original turbo era (1977-1988)). Piquet’s win was the first time a car powered by a turbocharged engine had won the World Championship.

In the years 1986 and 1987, the version M12/13/1 was tilted sideways by 72° for use in the extremely low Brabham BT55 (1986) and more conventional Brabham BT56 (1987). The design was not successful, probably due to cooling issues in the tight compartment. The BMW GTP IMSA series car was also powered by the 2.0 liter M12 turbo engine, with more than 850 hp in race trim. The 1986 engine was said to produce about 1,400 hp (1,044 kW) in qualifying, that being the most powerful figure of all the turbo-charged engines in Formula One (though it should also be noted that at the time there was no way of accurately measuring horsepower over 1,000 and figures are what were generally accepted from the engineers calculations with 0.1 Bar of turbo boost rated to be worth approximately 20 hp (15 kW)).[1] During 1986 however it was the Benetton team using the conventional upright BMW M12 who would be the leading BMW runner in Formula One, with Gerhard Berger scoring his and the teams first (and the BMW engines last) win by winning the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix. Benetton would not continue with the BMW engines in 1987, instead they became the defacto factory Ford team using their Ford TEC turbo in the BMW’s place.

During the 1986 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Gerhard Berger’s BMW powered Benetton B186 recorded the highest straight line speed by a turbocharged Formula One car when he was timed at 352.22 km/h (219 mph). In fact, the top five cars through the speed trap at Monza (Berger and team mate Teo Fabi, Brabham’s Derek Warwick and Riccardo Patrese, and the Arrows of Thierry Boutsen) were all powered by the BMW M12.

As BMW announced to pull out officially at the end of 1986 (though they would continue to supply Brabham with their tilted engine for 1987), Arrows team boss Jackie Oliver brokered a deal with support from the teams primary sponsor USF&G to continue the use of the upright BMW engines under the name of its subsidiary Megatron, Inc., founded by long-time F1 aficionado John J. Schmidt, who coined the phrase “Horse racing may have been the sport of kings, but auto racing is the sport of corporations”. The engines were serviced by Arrows long time engine guru Heini Mader from Switzerland, a former mechanic of Jo Siffert.

Rebadged as Megatron, the BMW engines were used by the Arrows team for the 1987 and 1988 seasons, as well as Ligier for 1987 only. In the final season for the turbos, Arrows were one of only six teams still running turbocharged engines and the only team to still use the old BMW engines. During the 1988 season the Megatron engines were the oldest turbos still in use in Formula One dating back to 1982 (Ferrari, who had been using turbos since 1981, had introduced a completely new engine from 1987).
The Megatron programme ended as a result of a change of Formula One engine rules which banned turbocharged engines at the end of 1988, with American driver Eddie Cheever achieving the old BMW engine’s last podium finish with third place in the 1988 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The race was also significant as it was the first time Heini Mader had solved the problem caused by the FIA’s pop-off valve which limited turbo power to 4.0 Bar in 1987 and 2.5 Bar in 1988. By moving the valve closer to the engine, the problem of the turbo not delivering enough boost had been solved and the Arrows A10B’s were among the fastest on the long Monza straights, faster even than the all-conquering McLaren-Hondas which effectively incorporated elements of Gordon Murray’s lowline Brabham design as well as featuring a more powerful V6 engine.

Similar Posts


  1. just before you stare your eyes out at the "1.5L 1500BHP" in the title, let me tell you how that’s no miracle at all.

    i dont know much about the old time ones but modern f1 engines run on 17:1 compression ratio, 19,000 rpm and unlimited boost pressure. any 1.5 – 2 litre piston engine built under those specs are guaranteed to have 4 digits in BHP. you can mod your engine to do that if you know what you are doing.

    but remember, f1 engines are built to last just a few races. this is also the limitation of this type of engine – extremely short lived. for the same reason, you dont see car manufacturers go crazy on compression ratio, rpm limit and boost pressure on production cars because they have to produce vehicles with reasonable engine life expectancy. that also means if you dont mind having a car that runs 2,000km in 5 hours but also has all of its cylinder walls burst at around that 2,000km mark, im sure some custom shops would be willing and have the capability to build such an engine for you, granted you are happy to dump a huge amount of money on something that wont last.

  2. This engine was used in the late 80s and people bitch today about the lack of V8/V10/V12 engines in Formula 1. Gtfoh

  3. As BMW M12, the engine design since the 1960s became one of the most successful engines in racing. Starting with the European Touring Car Championship, it was also used in Formula 2, expanded to two litre and fitted with four-valve heads, producing over 300 hp (224 kW). In the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft, a 1400 cc variant (with a 1.4 handicap factor equal to 2000cc) was turbocharged by Paul Rosche according to FIA Group 5
    rules. At well over 350 hp (261 kW) from the beginning, it rendered the
    normally aspirated engines in the two liter category useless. After
    some development, power, driveability and reliability improved,
    especially in the IMSA car, and BMW began to think about entering F1, where a handicap factor of 2.0 required 1500 cc engines.

  4. why does that 2002 bmw look like a 1972 car?? did they misquote that m10 year??

  5. Ahh the German’s,  back in the day  they where on top, and always will be. The Italian’s had the style, but the German’s always will have the best engineers, which fukn help’s that’s what I think, maybe Im wrong but Im not

  6. 1350 is the Same than 1500 ? Nooo

  7. 2:01 slapping sound of a massive turbo 😀

  8. If talking on and on and on gives a 6 pack so be it ( very boring though)

  9. BMW Power…. 💙

  10. Have I seen this correctly, they have had already the idea for the twin scroll turbo?

  11. Interesting…. So. what happened to BMW now, they manufacture plastic electronic crap.
    What?… no run flats they actually had a spare wheel supplied in them days… lol

  12. The DFV was developed from the Ford Anglia engine x 2

  13. The 1500hp claim is a calculated one! No testbank was able to measure the real output. On top of that: the engine would blow up within one round….

  14. contact Chris 937-242-8908

  15. can anyone tell me from what documentary is this clip? thanks in advance!

  16. I doubt that it wasn’t possible to measure the performance over 1000 Bhp. It could have been counted from the mass, and the acceleration times.

  17. ledge bar team …

    That’s how they made …


    Nice Windows however …

  18. group b rally was the best racing ive seen and the most power crazy era that had to stopped because it was to dangerous for driver and spectator alike , bring back group b and let them run 1500 hp rally cars with all the tech and safety possible

  19. The formula 1 engine had no relation to the saloon engine whatsoever, total bullshit

  20. No 1500 hp

  21. pédale japonais compliments Tokyo

  22. The 425 hp 426 CI Chrysler Hemi is the basis for the most powerful race car engine ever: 5000+ HP top fuel drag race motor.

  23. This is a great show! More!

  24. This presenter is a smeg head.

  25. Hey its Rimmer!!

  26. "Most powerful racing engine ever.."
    *glances over at 1986 top fuel dragster model*

  27. I need to find a German to piss on my BMW…

  28. Taking a piss on the engine blocks 😂 wtf?

  29. and after almost 60 years we still have crap engines with tons of computers that are useless…

  30. nice Mr Arnold Judas Rimmer.
    love the old bmw grill

  31. Rimmer!

  32. World’s most powerful race car engine? The Can-Am Porsche 917s in qualifying boost might scoff at that. It’d be close tho.

  33. "suddenly everything changed, and by 86 racing engine power shot up by nearly 1500hp." cocaine is a hell of a drug!

  34. Without an "L" on his forehead that dude don’t look right.

  35. is that chris barry doing his best alan partridge impersonation

  36. That’s BMW quality for you!

  37. normaly I guy looking for power will ignorantly thow away that m10 for something like a rotary

  38. what is this things topspeed?

  39. …rimmer…?

  40. is that fucking rimmer

  41. I believe it was more than the 1,350hp quote at end of this video; rumour has it BMW’s dynos only went to this figure and the engines exceeded this in qualifying trim with the boost massively turned up

  42. Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast. Or skivvy clad presenting of pedestrian facts pertaining to somewhat interesting automotive racing history? Just hope this was early 90’s and not recent!

  43. My friends dad always said his 2002 m10 was the best engine ever build . Now I know what he ment . 10 years latter

  44. I like this…

  45. Why is this smeg head hologram talking about engines?

  46. smoke me a kipper, ill be back for breakfast

  47. Ma andate a fare in culo dioporco

  48. Exactly or roughly how big was the turbo? I cant find any numbers anywhere so i just want to know.

  49. he said the turbo diagram backwards BTW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *