Paul Rosche

Munich engineer Paul Rosche joined BMW at the age of 23 and after working for several years in research and development, under the guidance of BMW's famous engine designer Alex von Falkenhausen, he moved exclusively into motorsport in the mid 1960s when BMW first began to take a serious interest in the sport after Van Falkenhausen convinced the BMW management to build the four-cylinder M10 engine, a 1.5-liter engine which could was designed to expand to 2-litres. this would be the basis of all of the company's engines for many years and Rosche palyed an important role in developing the M10 and its derivative the M12 initially in Lola sportscars for Jo Siffert, Hubert Hahne and others. This was followed by a Len Terry-designed Formula 2 car. When BMW pulled out of racing in 1970 after the death of Gerhard Mitter (and because it needed to save money), Rosche was part of a secret development group which Von Falkenhausen kept going quietly until the BMW board could be convinced to return to the sport in 1972

In 1973 BMW joined forces with the March factory team in Formula 2 and in the years that followed Rosche developed the engines and enjoyed a string of European Championship titles. At the same time his engines were used in all of BMW's successful touring car campaigns. After Von Falkenhausen retired in 1975 Rosch became the technical head of BMW Motorsport GmbH and worked with Jochen Neerpasch to convince the BMW board to enter Formula 1 with a turbo engine. In the end that bid failed and Neerpasch left to be replaced by Dieter Stappert and in 1980 he convinced the board to give the project the go-ahead. Rosche was laready well-advanced on a design and the engine was first tested at the end of 1980 and began racing in 1982, winning its first race with Nelson Piquet in Canada in June that year. The engines went on to score eight more wins in F1 and powered Piquet to the World Championship in 1983. In the years that followed BMW engines became the most powerful in the history of F1 with output reckoned to be 1500 horsepower on occasion. At the end of 1986, however, BMW withdrew from F1 and sold the rights to its engines to Megatron. Rosche build occasional F1 prototypes after that but the company refused to return to F1.

Rosche's E30 M3 engine, which powered the M3 to more touring car victories than any other car in history, followed and in the 1990s he turned his attention to building a V12 engine for the McLaren road car, working with former Brabham designer Gordon Murray. The 6.1-liter engine was developed for racing and won the Le Mans 24 Hours in a McLaren in 1995 and later became the engine in the BMW factory sportscar team, run by Williams. That can close to winning Le Mans in 1998 but swept to victory in 1999.

By that time Rosche was working on the development of a new 3-liter V10 engine that made its debut with Williams in 2000.

At the end of 1999, however, Rosche retired at the age of 65 and handed over the technical directorship of BMW Motorsport to Werner Laurenz.