BMW 1800ti was the first in what would become a long, storied line of BMW special performance derivatives. It featured twin Solex carburetors and a 9.5:1 compression ratio, making 110 bhp. The suspension was uprated with stiffer shocks and springs for more cornering grip. Almost immediately, the 1800ti began racking up racing victories in class against Alfa, Lotus-Cortina, Mini Cooper, and more, competing in road races, hill climbs, and rallies. BMW 1800ti proved to be so dependable on the track that memories of the 1500’s troubles all but disappeared.
Drivers of note include Herbert Hahne, Walter Schneider, and Anton Fischaber. American driver and BMW tuner Ray Korman raced an 1800ti in Asia. Marianne “Pinkie” Rollo, Jack Ryan, Lin Coleman, Jerry Titus, and Carl Fredericks campaigned 1800s in US. The first big win came at the ETCC six-hour race at the Nurburgring, where Hahne and Fischaber's 1800ti, bearing No. 14, scored a convincing class win and finished seventh overall. Hahne and Schneider in the same TiSA qualified pole position at the ETCC six-hour race at Brands Hatch. A clutch failure forced a DNF. In all, it was a fantastic inaugural season for BMW's new star, with Hahne eventually winning the German national sedan racing title.
In the U.S., BMW 1800ti driven by Ryan and Coleman finished ninth overall and sixth in class at the first-ever Trans-Am race, the Four-Hour Governor's Cup Race for Sedans. The class winner was Jochen Rindt in an Alfa-Romeo 1600 GTA. Rollo finished seventh in her 1800ti at the VIR 400 on July 31, 1966, and later teamed up with Denise McCluggage in a Ferrari 275 GTS to finish second at the 1967 Sebring 12-hour enduro.
Drivers could hotrod their BMW 1800ti with Weber conversion kits, trick cylinder heads, and other go-fast goodies from Alpina. Many of these modifications would soon appear as standard features on the hottest NK yet, the 1800TiSA.