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      08-17-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
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K.H Kalbfell Former head of BMW M killed in racing accident

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Former BMW motorsport chief Karl-Heinz Kalbfell was killed on Saturday in a motorcycle accident at Brands Hatch, at the age of 63.

Kalbfell was competing in a practice session for historic machinery when he ran wide exiting Druids and fell on the run down to Graham Hill Bend, before being struck by a fellow competitor who was following closely behind.

He was taken by ambulance to Darneth Valley hospital, where he died as a result of his injuries.

After working as an engineer in the caravan industry, Kalbfell joined BMW in 1977 and remained with the manufacturer until 2004.

During that time he worked his way up to become head of the 'M Performance' motorsport division, overseeing BMW's switch from the DTM into Super Touring competition at the end of 1992.

He then played a key role in the development of the engine that powered the McLaren F1 to Le Mans 24 Hours victory in '95 and - after climbing to a more senior position - BMW's re-entry to Formula 1 as an engine supplier with Williams in 2000.

After leaving BMW he had a spell as CEO of Alfa Romeo and Maserati and was recently a board member of Group Lotus.

BMW issued the following statement:

"We received the news of the tragic accident with great sadness.

"BMW Motorsport mourns an amazing person and a passionate racer. For many years he was a formative figure and a driving force behind BMW Motorsport and BMW M.

"In these difficult circumstances, our thoughts are with his family."

Jonathan Palmer, CEO of Brands Hatch owner Motorsport Vision, said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of this tragic news.

"I knew Karl-Heinz, though not well, and had great respect for his achievements in the motor industry and particularly with BMW.

"He was a really good guy who did a huge amount for motorsport during his time at BMW.

"Karl-Heinz's passion for machinery and sport was demonstrated by his love for classic motorcycle racing and it is particularly cruel that he should lose his life enjoying his hobby, and one which has a good safety record too.

"I extend my deepest sympathies to Karl-Heinz's family."
Kalbfell, an engineer, began his career at BMW in 1977 in the communications department; a decade later he was chairman of BMW M GmbH, overseeing development of some of the cars responsible for the myth of M. In 1994 he was named chairman of BMW Motorsport, and his cap full of feathers includes getting the BMW V12 into the McLaren F1, getting the BMW V8 into two Morgan cars, along with developing BMW's Formula One engine and return to the sport. Not incidentally, he also assumed leadership of Project Rolls-Royce after BMW bought the British marque in 1998, which means he oversaw the Goodwood factory upfit and the creation of the Phantom.
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      08-18-2013, 10:33 AM   #2
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Sad to hear - sounds a bit like Marco Simoncelli's crash a couple of years ago.
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      08-18-2013, 10:57 AM   #3
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Amazing he was still racing motorbikes at the age of 63 though.
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      08-19-2013, 02:09 AM   #4
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Sad news, RIP.
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      08-19-2013, 09:37 AM   #5
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Rest in peace
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      08-19-2013, 09:44 AM   #6
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Racing at that age, doing what he loved.


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      08-19-2013, 09:49 AM   #7
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      08-19-2013, 09:57 AM   #8
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My dad knew him very well and has only good things to say about him. May he RIP.

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      08-19-2013, 10:19 AM   #9
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sad to hear, RIP
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      08-19-2013, 10:21 AM   #10
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Sad news
3/15 to i8, and everything in between (yep, even including the F26 and F45)
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      08-19-2013, 10:22 AM   #11
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terrible news
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      08-19-2013, 10:24 AM   #12
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      08-19-2013, 10:39 AM   #13
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Very sad news indeed may he rest in peace. Condolences to the Family!
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      08-19-2013, 10:48 AM   #14
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Very tragic...R.I.P.
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      08-19-2013, 10:49 AM   #15
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      08-19-2013, 10:51 AM   #16
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Tragic news indeed. Rest in peace Karl-Heinz Kalbfell. Condolences to the Family!
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      08-19-2013, 10:51 AM   #17
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"freak" accident..
That's the most saddest part.
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      08-19-2013, 11:13 AM   #18
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Tragic news. Thoughts are with his friends and family.
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      08-19-2013, 11:18 AM   #19
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BMW spirit shall live on.
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      08-19-2013, 11:28 AM   #20
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sad day rip
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      08-19-2013, 11:57 AM   #21
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May he Rest In Peace.
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      08-19-2013, 12:19 PM   #22
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2004 e87 118d (ret.), 2006 e92 335d (ret.), 2007 e92 330d (ret.), 2007 e87 130i M-sport (ret.), 2009 e92 M3 (ret.), 2010 f10 535d M-sport (ret.)
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