One of the main reasons for production of the road car was to homologate the M3 for Group A Touring Car racing, as an answer to the "2.3-16V"-model of the Mercedes-Benz W201 which was introduced in 1983. A notable characteristic of the E30 M3 is its racing pedigree, campaigned by BMW as well as other racing teams including Prodrive and Schnitzer Motorsport.
The E30 M3 differed from the rest of the E30 line-up in many ways. The M3 was equipped with a revised stiffer and more aerodynamic body shell as well as "box flared" fenders to accommodate a wider track with wider and taller wheels and tires. The only body panels the standard model and the M3 shared were the hood and roof. It also had three times the caster angle of any other E30. The M3 shared larger wheel bearings and front brake calipers with the E28 5-Series. To keep the car competitive in racing following homologation rules, homologation specials were produced. Homologation rules roughly stated that the race version must reflect the street car aerodynamically and in engine displacement; therefore, improved models were periodically released for the public.
Special editions and homologation specials include: the Evo 1, Evo 2 and Sport Evolution some of which featured less weight, improved aerodynamics, taller front fender arches (Sport Evolution; to further facilitate 18-inch (460 mm) wheels in DTM), brake ducting, and more power. Production of the original E30 M3 ended in early 1992. Having won more road races than any other model in history, the E30 M3 is considered by many to be the world's most successful road race car. Its wins include the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, European Touring Car Championship and even the one-off World Touring Car Championship title in 1987.