World famous BMW racer-turned-tuner Richard Hamann succumbed to lung cancer last week, company officials said in a prepared statement. He was 53. Though the tuning legend is gone, his successful firm will continue to design, construct, and sell premium aftermarket components for luxury and sports vehicles.

Hamann established his company in 1986 after 20 years of racing in various motorsport, which included Gruppe C, DTM, and Formula 3. During his track tenure, he racked up over 700 race starts and 300 podium finishes. He also won the Special Touring Car Trophy three times in a BMW M1 racecar.

He used his on-track expertise to develop high-quality BMW parts at his workshop in Laupheim, Germany. The first car he sold under the new Hamann Motorsport banner was a turbocharged E30-series BMW M3 that made 348 horsepower and ran to 62 mph from a stop in 5.1 seconds. From that lightweight platform he earned industry respect and attention.

In the 1990s Hamann broadened his product portfolio to include Ferrari, in particular the venerable twin-turbocharged F40. This model would set the stage for the vast lineup of current tuned Maranello machines.

In 2002, Hamann included Aston Martin, Mini, Porsche, Range Rover, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Maserati to the catalog. A few years later, he established a short-lived company called Opera Design to handle all Mercedes-Benz modifications.

Everyone at the brand’s 10,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility will carry on their founder’s legacy with the worldwide distribution of TUV and ISO-approved components per Richard’s personal wishes.

Hamann’s death is the second tragic loss the tuning world has faced in the last year. In late 2010, Porsche modifier Uwe Gemballa was found dead in South Africa after a run-in with organized crime.

Source: Hamann Motorsport