i8 Brand Ambassador
Dear Edo Popken Fans and Clients,
Its about time to share a story and one of my favorite hobbies that has evolved to become a new Start Up for me. In early 2015 it began with a small crowd of car enthusiasts invited by an innovative local Swiss Bank during a delicious Dinner overlooking the stunning city of Zürich. One of the key ﬁgures during the development of the BMW i8 Hybrid Sportscar provided meaningful insights into the entire process from R&D through prototypes until the ﬁnal product which launched late 2014. The 2008 M1 Hommage provided ﬁrst hints to what ﬁnally became the i8 but not with a traditional combustion engine. The i8 was powered by the latest hybrid powertrain developed in Munich. A 1.5 liter 3 Cylinder Turbo cranking out 231hp to the rear wheels plus an electric motor delivering an instant 96kw and 250 Nm of torque totaling 362hp combined.
A few month later the that year I became the ﬁrst and only BMW i8 Brand Ambassador to drive an i8 from BMW GROUP AG Switzerland for a Full year and was granted 30k km or~19.000mls
Within the ﬁrst few months I started enjoying the car so much that it was hard to stay within the mileage I was granted. I started to talk to clients, sales staﬀ and drivers of other brands. As a huge fan of the legendary M1 Procar from the late 70s I decided to build a racecar using the i8 base. In 2016/2017 i returned my protonic blue i8 and received a protonic red Edition for another year. I then decided to buy the car after the end of that year in order to get authorization to modify the i8. The market only oﬀered visual tuning components for the i8 but there was one i8 with incredible performance. The i8 Safetycar of the formula e. I reached out to the same Key person during development and after intense conversations about my ambitious project received my ﬁrst Safetycar parts installed. The only Aerodynamic components for the i8 developed and tested in the BMW AERO LAB as well as new Suspension parts, improved engine cooling and a lightweight Carbon Fiber trunk lid.
At the same time I decided to become a partial owner of the BILSTERBERG drive resort which houses the most exciting track layout I had ever seen and drive on. It is now owned by 120 enthusiasts. The development of a true racecar needs a consistent environment for testing in order to prove the progress of all further developments.
The next steps included BMW Motorsport brakes and further reduction of weight. The goal was set to reduce the power/weight ratio from 4.4kg/hp to 3kg/hp which is a fraction better then what the 500hp M4GTS achieved.
In order to eliminate more mass I had the chance to talk directly to the product management team in Munich and received extremely valuable insights. While the 2018 Safetycar received the 2019 bigger battery and an extra 9KW in e-power the rest of the car remained unchanged.
In 2018 I was able to get my Ambassador contact renewed again and became one of the ﬁrst 18 owners/drivers of the i8 Roadster. But not just any Roadster. Number 6/18 i8 Club Edition which were taken from the 200 First Edition Models - the only cars sporting matching chassis numbers. I felt extremely lucky and thankful at the same time. Special Thanks to BMWi and Claus Dieter Bachmann our President and founder of the Club.
During the 2018 racing season I layed the grounds for the next level of development to go from a Safetycar spec i8 to my own i8 Procar. The key to the next level of lightweight and further improved downforce was my newfound Partner/Friend who is simply a genius in the development and production of Carbon ﬁber MOTORSPORT components. He and his team including his two sons are making parts and even complete bodies for some of the worlds most renowned Motorsport Teams. During the winter months the red coupe underwent the most serious modiﬁcations and received numerous upgrades.
2019 after several major setbacks we ﬁnally got to the point where we were able to achieve a signiﬁcantly better LapTime then at the end of 2018. And we achieved our goal in powe to weight ratio of 2.99kg per hp. Now we can oﬃcially call our i8 Procat GT321 while the 2 stands for the : signaling the ratio 3:1. As we did all of this the i8 ﬁnds itself whitin it’s ﬁfth year of production and the usual lifeline in this segment is 5-6 years. In the high tech world of hybrid sports cars with the extreme pace of development it seems to be close to the end. In my chosen home country for over 25 years the i8 remains popular and despite the arrival of the Roadster - the coupe seems to be an attractive proposition for the modern Swiss Driver.
Until now I had done all of this motivated solely by my passion for the M1 and the i8 and because I don’t like to drive an average car. It needs to be special, technically as well as aesthetically. I can truly say that I love the design and drivability of the i8.
When you least expect it but are working hard magical things happen. In Spring 2019 BMWi Switzerland approached me and asked if I were interested in creating an Edo Popken Edition of the i8 for the Swiss Market. You can imagine my immediate response. As you read this we are working on this Edition with my internal Code i8 CSL. And the best thing about it is that we will oﬀer a CLUB SPORT package for all customers. Engineered Racing Components by Edo Popken alias EDO Motorsport Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to stay tuned. Edo Popken