BMW Racing Heritage on Track at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Motorsports played a big role in cementing BMW’s image as The Ultimate Driving Machine in the US in the 1970s. Two cars from that era will be featured on track at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion: the BMW 3.0 CSL that won the 12 Hours of Sebring and a BMW M1 ProCar.
BMW 3.0 CSL 1 photo
Photo: BMW
The 3.0 CSL race cars were the first cars to be developed under the new BMW subsidiary, established in 1972—BMW Motorsport GmbH.  They were also the first to sport the newly designated official colors of BMW Motorsport—red, blue and purple.

The 3.0 CSL that will be campaigned by BMW of North America is one of a team of five cars campaigned by the company in 1975 & ‘76, enjoying considerable success, winning IMSA races at Sebring, Laguna Seca, Riverside, Daytona, Lime Rock and Talledega.

BMW Motorsport saw an opportunity in the mid 1970s to beat arch-rival, Porsche, in a new racing series by designing and manufacturing a purpose-built racing car and offering it 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 engine, mounted amid-ships, debuted at the 1978 Paris Auto Show to the admiration of the world’s motoring press.

Unfortunately delays with outside contractors caused its appearance to coincide with the demise of the racing category for which it was built.  The quick thinking solution was the fast and furious ProCar Series which preceded European Formula One races, pitting the top-five qualifying Grand Prix start against 15 talented local drivers in identically prepared M1's.

The ProCar Series ran in 1979 and 1980 with championships by Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet, respectively. The M1 Group 4 racer being raced this weekend by BMW of North America was originally campaigned in the 1981 IMSA GTO Series.
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