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      05-30-2020, 04:05 AM   #1
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Interview with Albert Biermann by MotoManTV

This is a in-depth, candid interview by MotoManTV with Albert Biermann, a man who, for BMW enthusiasts, needs no introduction.

It is also from that [BMW] perspective or vantage point that this interview is particularly interesting as it sheds light on topics which were previously the subject of much speculation, including the untold politics & difficulty of securing funding for certain programs, the challenges after the controversial decision to abandon natural-aspiration in favor of forced-induction, as well as the feelings & reasons surrounding his final departure from BMW M.

Needless to say, through his words, tone, and body language, one can tell that Biermann is a genuine life-long BMW M enthusiast but one who has also had a hot & cold relationship with his professional career at BMW M, having joined and left BMW M GmbH on 3 separate occasions through the decades.

Still, it does not sound like he has any regrets on that end, and it will be interesting to see his legacy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoManTV
Albert Biermann: The man that brings the Nürburgring to every car - Inside the MotoMan Studio
You know Albert Biermann for 30+ years of BMW Motorsport race and road cars. Then, in 2015, he took a huge risk on two up & coming car brands: Hyundai & Kia. What you don’t know is the incredible story of risk, racing and engineering that predated both of those car companies. More incredible, most people know the Nurburgring as a great place to party & watch car racing. Fewer still know it as a place to race and develop cars. Only one man can say it was his classroom that led him to an engineering career creating some of the most iconic cars over the past 45 years.



Key Takeaways/Moments:
  • First 20 minutes - Family background, upbringing & exposure to motorsports, siblings, and girlfriend (later wife).
  • 20:30 - Getting a job at BMW
  • 21:20 - Biermann recalls his younger years as a BMW fan (circa 1973) where he brought a homemade BMW M Flag to cheer on the BMW M Team at the Nürburgring
  • 22:00 - Working on BMW chassis development upon joining BMW - suspension/shock absorber group, worked on suspension tuning for BMW AG models, incl. E30 3er
  • 25:00 - Joining BMW M[otorsport] GmbH (circa 1983). M Team is small with much of the manpower focused on working the road-going E30 M3. Biermann fills gap and takes charge for E30 M3 race car development (Group A test engineer/project leader)
  • 29:10 - Leaves BMW M; Back to working at BMW AG chassis development
  • 30:20 - Working for BMW of North America / testing, accessory development, navigation systems, alarms, etc.
  • 35:45 - BMW M comes looking for Biermann again circa 2000. There was a proposed DTM project/program that was later abandoned in favor of Formula 1 (to his dismay). Le Mans program at the time also took up a large chunk of funding.
  • 38:20 - E46 M3 6-cyl race cars losing competitiveness (vs. Porsches) in ALMS racing, gives birth to the idea of a V8-engined M3 and the M3 GTR. Successful program later gave precedent & carry-over R&D to the E9x M3 S65 engine development.
  • 41:05 - Biermann mentions [for the 2nd time] his discontent that BMW was burning money in F1 (i.e., probably a lot of internal politics & disagreement) instead of focusing on touring car racing. Voluntarily leaves BMW M as a result.
  • 41:55 - Returned to R&D for BMW AG. Overall Project Leader for 2nd Gen BMW X5 (E70) but returns to BMW M for a 3rd time after change in management as R&D head for BMW M.
  • 43:00 - New challenges in transitioning BMW M from NA engines to FI/turbocharging at the behest of corporate; BMW AG/Board did not like BMW M expenditures on R&D for M-specific engine programs & wanted to reduce costs there.
  • 44:00 - Challenges through the internal politics/discontent at BMW M over changes mandated by BMW AG & losing autonomy & culture of BMW M / moving engineering to more synergic engine architecture/ working on the F10 M5 S63 V8 turbo engine.
  • 45:00 - Getting approached by Hyundai/KIA & initial thoughts
  • 47:20 - Contemplating whether to finish F90 M5 & go into retirement or accept Hyundai's offer. (worth noting regarding the F90 that Biermann has mentioned separately that the Board's axing of M DCT development also played a role in his final discontent with BMW M's future direction).
  • 48:20 - Biermann expresses his dissatisfaction during his later years at BMW [M]; didn't feel appreciated or valued as corporate culture/politics/bean-counters made engineers like him feel more like a problem than an asset, calls it lack of 'respect'
  • 50:00 - Joining Hyundai/KIA - leading performance development
  • 53:30 - Learning about Hyundai & Korea, challenges/adjustments
  • 54:00-end - Significance of the Nürburgring / life & hindsight related questions & closing statements
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      05-30-2020, 10:40 AM   #2
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Thoroughly enjoyed that.
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