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BMW Motorsport icons never die


BMW USA will be participating in the 2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion later this month and has come up trumps with a few photos of its past motorsport icons.

We liked the pics of the 3.0 CSL aka the Batmobile and the mid-engined M1. And because we’re nice folks here at AUSmotive we sharing these pics with you now. Check them out below and remember to click on the images to load the 2560px mega image sizing.

UPDATE 18 August: New image added above.






BMW enters three fan favorite race cars at the 2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

  • 1975 Sebring-Winning 3.0 CSL, BMW M1 IMSA Group 4 and the 1994/95 championship winning BMW M5 IMSA Supercar to race.

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – August 4, 2015 …Today BMW announced that it will run three BMWUSA Classic race cars in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on August 13-16. The entries include the famous No. 25 BMW 3.0 CSL, the BMW M1 IMSA Group 4 endurance racer and the BMW M5 IMSA Bridgestone Supercar Championship 1994-95 winner. Fans and media are encouraged to follow along on Twitter @BMWUSAClassic.

The No. 25 BMW 3.0 CSL Group 4 celebrates the 40th anniversary of winning the 1975 12 Hours of Sebring race. This 3.0 CSL is one of five BMW Motorsport chassis built and campaigned in North America in the 1975 & 1976 IMSA Camel GT Series in Group 4 and 5 specifications. Campaigned under the racing numbers 24 and 25, the CSL enjoyed considerable success, winning at Sebring, Riverside, Daytona and Talladega and at Laguna Seca in 1975. At the Rolex Reunion, the BMW 3.0 CSL No. 25 will be driven by BMW of North America President and CEO, Ludwig Willisch. Willisch will run in Group 4A:1973-1981 FIA, IMSA with races on Saturday, August 15th.

The second entry is the No. 2 BMW M1 IMSA Group 4 that was campaigned by BMW of North America at the 24 Hours of Daytona and Mosport during the 1981 season and driven by the likes of David Hobbs, Mark Surer, and Dieter Quester.

As racing regulations evolved in the mid-Seventies, BMW Motorsport saw an opportunity to challenge arch-rival Porsche in a new racing series by designing and manufacturing a purpose-built race car and offering a street version for sale to the public, as stipulated by the rules. The BMW M1, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and powered by a Paul Rosche-designed 3.5-liter, twin-cam 6-cylinder “M88” engine, mounted amid-ship, debuted at the 1978 Paris Auto Show to the admiration of the world’s motoring press. However, development and production delays with outside contractors caused its appearance to coincide with the demise of the racing formula for which it was created. The quick thinking solution was the fast and furious ProCar Series which preceded European Formula 1 races.

A few of the M1 ProCars were imported to the US, modified for endurance racing and successfully raced in the popular IMSA GTO Series. BMW of North America only entered its M1 IMSA Group 4 in the longer races of the 1981 season as company’s racing program shifted focus to the new M1/C prototype for the shorter races. This M1 IMSA Group 4 (Chassis No. 4301223) was the spare car for the BMW of North America team and appears to have seen limited racing action. The No. 2 M1 IMSA Group 4 will be driven by Time Inc resident auto tester Jason Harper. Harper will also run in Group 4A with Willisch with two races on Saturday, August 15th.

The final BMW entry in the annual event is the BMW M5 IMSA Bridgestone Supercar champion from 1994 and 1995. The IMSA Bridgestone Supercar Championship featured the great cars of the mid-1990 in a sprint racing format. This BMW M5 topped Porsche, Nissan, Lotus, Corvette, Ferrari and Mazda, among other “supercars” of the day. The engine uses the basic components from the production unit while Zytec Engineering, working with BMW Motorsport, tuned it for this purpose. It is the last generation of this engine design, first seen in the 1975 3.0 CSL and the M1 Procar.

BMW of North America’s now-classic championship ad and poster read, “The 1994 IMSA Supercar Champion Has Something Exotic Ferrari, Lotus and Porsche Competitors Don’t. Four Doors.

David Donohue, son of legendary American driver Mark Donohue, won his first professional racing championship behind the wheel of this BMW M5 in 1994. Prepared by Ed Arnold Racing, of Oaks, Pa., this car was never sidelined by a mechanical failure. Winning or finishing second in all but one of eight races, Donohue won the IMSA Bridgestone Supercar Championship. BMW won the manufacturers crown. David Donohue is re-united with his car for the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion this year. Donohue will run in Group XX with two races on Saturday, August 15th.

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