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Georg Plasa’s Judd V8-Powered BMW E36 Still Kicks Ass

I fell deep into the hill climb wormhole on YouTube seven years ago and I haven’t looked back. I can’t even remember how I found it, but tearing up an impossibly twisty mountain road somewhere in Europe had blown me away. I came for the car, stayed for the engine noise, and kept coming back for the thrilling driving of Georg Plasa, a legend and pioneer in the European hill climb scene.

I subscribed to anyone covering European hill climb on YouTube at the time and waited for the clips of Plasa and his “134 Judd” to roll in. Each one was more captivating than the last and that made his death in 2011 hit especially hard. The inspirational driver and his fantastic car with that almost haunting Judd V8 wail was gone forever. But one car that seemed lost to history – the car he truly raised the bar with – came back to life at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year with the help of some of Plasa’s friends and family.

Plasa’s 1990 BMW E36 Judd was a breakthrough innovation for hill climb as it introduced single seater tech into hill climb, most noticeably in the power department. The 3.4-liter Judd KV675 V8 derived from Formula 3000 for LMP2 use made 560 horsepower and revved to 10,200 RPM – that’s part of why this car and its successor were so popular online. Needless to say, it dominated at the hands of Plasa for years. I highly recommend reading  and then checking out the video above to see it doing what it did best.

Jörg Weidinger, the same stellar driver who brought this car to a very impressive third place finish in the Goodwood FOS shootout, takes the helm once more at FIA Hill Climb Masters Gubbio 2018 and reintroduces the legendary E36 Judd to its natural habitat. You’d assume that an irreplaceable car on a memorial tour would be driven gently as more of a showpiece, but that’s absolutely not the case. Weidinger drives this E36 Judd the way it was meant to be driven and there’s one part of the video in particular where that becomes most evident. Courtesy of the awesome crew, for five minutes we can relive a little bit of magic.

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  • Zentropy

    Wow, but that thing sticks.

  • outback_ute

    The hill climb guys at the pointy end are pretty nuts. I saw the national championships and one of the top guys was using a new set of chewing gum soft slicks for each run, which was only half a mile on a purpose built track. He was running an ex-Indy car, and the guy who beat him had a home built open wheeler with a supercharged VW motor.