Color Fast: Historic BMW Race Cars in Monterey

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceFlying Colors
To celebrate BMW’s rich racing history and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company, BMW was the featured marque at the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from August 18–23. More than 60 BMWs raced in various groups throughout the weekend, and BMW North America put together the Living Legends Garage, featuring many of the most significant BMW race cars — most of which saw track time throughout the weekend. BMW also featured two cars from the BMW Art Car Collection: the original art car, a BMW 3.0 CSL designed by Alexander Calder; and the most recent one created by Jeff Koons, a 2009 BMW M3 GT. Take a look at the many gems highlighted in the BMW Living Legends Garage.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 328
Unveiled at the Nurburgring in 1936 prior to the International Eifel Race, the BMW 328 started out strong, winning that race in record time. A lightweight car with agile handling, the 328 is powered by a 2.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine with a unique semi-hemispherical cylinder head that produces a wide power band. The BMW 328 went on to become one of the most successful race cars of the 1930s.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster “Buegelfalte”
BMW constructed three 328 roadsters and two 328 coupes with aerodynamic aluminum alloy bodywork to compete in the Mille Miglia 1000-mile road race in Italy. The cars were given the nickname “buegelfalte,” or trouser crease, because of the crisp lines at the tops of the fenders. Powered by a 130-horsepower 2.0-liter inline 6-cylinder and weighing just 1,598 pounds, this 328 Mille Miglia roadster won the 1938 Mille Miglia and was part of the 5-car BMW team for the 1940 race, won by a BMW 328 Mille Miglia coupe. After the war, this car was taken to Russia and returned to Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was later restored by BMW and purchased by its current owner in 2001.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 2002 B.F. Goodrich Radial Challenge Series
The BMW 2002 was the car that really captured the attention of American drivers and it was also a successful race car, with Hans-Joachim Stuck one of the drivers to earn BMW’s first victory at the Nurburgring 24-hour race in 1970 driving a 2002. This 2002 was driven by Nick Craw to the IMSA B.F. Goodrich Radial Challenge Series championship in 1973 and he also went on to second in the Driver’s Championship in 1974 and first in 1975.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW ALPINA 2002ti
The BMW 2002ti was the higher-performance version of the popular 2002, and this racing version was built by BMW tuner/race team ALPINA GmbH in 1970. Modifications include signature Weber side-draft carburetors, engine upgrades, flared fenders and ALPINA 3-piece alloy wheels. In 1970 the car was sold to Vasek Polak BMW and raced in SCCA races in 1971 and 1972 by Competition of Torrance. Retired after the 1972 season, the car was stored for 24 years before being reconditioned and painted in BMW Motorsports livery by BMW of North America for the BMW Celebration at the 1996 Monterey Historic Races. In 2014 the car was restored to its original BMW ALPINA team orange with semi-gloss black hood and rear deck.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 3.0 CSL 1975-76 IMSA Camel GT Series
The BMW 3.0 CSL race cars were the first cars to be developed by BMW Motorsport GmbH established in 1972 and the first cars to wear the official BMW Motorsport colors — red, purple and blue. The aluminum-skinned 3.0 CSL is a lightweight version of the production 3.0 CS designed to compete in Group 2 through Group 5 European sports car racing, and it continued to win races into the late 1970s event though production ended in 1975. The production 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder increased to 3.5 liters and produced 430 horsepower. BMW North American campaigned five 3.0 CSL chassis in the 1975 and 1976 IMSA Camel GT series, winning at Sebring, Riverside, Laguna Seca, Daytona and Talladega in 1975. The No. 59 car driven by Peter Gregg, Brian Redman and John Fitzpatrick won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1976.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 320 Turbo
1977 IMSA Camel GT Challenge Series
Following the success of the 3.0 CSL, the 320 became the next BMW sports car powered by both non-turbo and turbocharged versions of the Formula 2 M12 engine. In Europe, the BMW Junior Team took the non-turbo version of the 320 to eight victories in the 1977 German Racing Championship with up and coming drivers Eddie Cheever, Marc Surer and Manfred Winkelhock at the wheel. The 320 Turbo raced in Europe, powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine while the U.S. version had a turbocharged 2.0 liter. Team McLaren developed and raced the car above, which was driven by David Hobbs to seven wins in the IMSA Camel GT series in 1977 and 1978. The 320 Turbo was used to test the engine for the BMW/Brabham BT52 driven by Nelson Piquet to the 1983 Formula One World Championship.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M1 IMSA Group 4
1981 IMSA GTO Endurance Series
The BMW M1 debuted at the 1978 Paris Motor Show, a mid-engine two-seat sports car designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and powered by a twin-cam 3.5-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. Originally intended to challenge rival Porsche, development production issues delayed the launch and by the time the M1 arrived the series it was planned for had ended. As a result, BMW created the ProCar Series to support Formula One races, with the top five Formula One drivers competing against local drivers in identically-prepared M1 race cars. Niki Lauda won the ProCar championship in 1979 and Nelson Piquet followed in 1980. The car above was modified to race in the IMSA GTO series in the U.S. and was entered by BMW North America at the 24 Hour of Daytona and Mosport in 1981. Drivers included David Hobbs, Marc Surer and Dieter Quester.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content Experience1986 BMW GTP
IMSA GTP Series
BMW of North America raced in the IMSA GTP Series in 1985 and 1986 with a March chassis developed by March and McLaren Engineering, powered by a 2.0-liter version of the turbocharged 4-cylinder unit that powered the 1983 Formula One car. The car was capable of more than 200 mph and created high levels of aerodynamic downforce, but the cars were plagued with development issues early in 1986 causing them to miss the 1986 24 Hours of Daytona. The only win came in 1986 at Watkins Glen, driven by Davy Jones and John Andretti.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW E30 M3
BMW Motorsport debuted the original M3 late in 1986, powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Developed for Group A racing, BMW Motorsport campaigned the M3 in the World Touring Car Championship, European Touring Car Championship and DTM. Not scheduled to arrive in the U.S. until 1987 as a 1988 model, BMW North America decided to generate interest by racing the M3. Ray Korman’s Korman Autoworks had been very successful in the IMSA Firestone Firehawk Endurance Series racing a BMW 325e and received two pre-production U.S.-spec M3s to build into Firehawk cars. The E30 M3 2.0-liter engine was one of the smallest engines in the series, but Korman reached the podium three times in 1987. BMW North America pulled its support after the 1987 season, but Korman continued to race through 1991, winning the race in Portland in 1990 and finishing third at West Palm Beach and Lime Rock that same year.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW ALPINA M3 DTM Gruppe A (E30)
Based on the first-generation E30 M3, the BMW ALPINA M3 marked the return of ALPINA to racing after a 10-year absence. This car competed in German, European and World Touring Car races in 1987 and was part of a two-car team for DTM in 1988. The BMW ALPINA M3 is powered by a high-revving 4-cylinder engine that produces 315 horsepower at 8000 rpm and 210 lb-ft of torque at 6750 rpm. Weighing just 2,160 pounds, the BMW ALPINA M3 is capable of a top speed between 160 and 174 mph, depending on gearing. ALPINA was the first to use catalytic converters in racing, which were required one year later.

© BMW of North AmericaMcLaren F1 GTR ’96 Spec
FIA GT World Championship
The 1992–98 McLaren F1 was the world’s fastest and most technically-advanced car in its day, setting the production car record at 231 mph in 1998. The McLaren F1 was the first production car with a carbon-fiber structure, utilizing the engine as a stressed member and included other racing technology for the street. BMW developed a normally-aspirated 6.0-liter V12 for the F1 that produced 636 horsepower. The driver’s seat is located in the center, positioned ahead of the two outboard passenger seats. A total of 106 McLaren F1s were produced, including 28 F1 GTR race cars, which differ slightly from the production car but were quite successful, including a win at the 24 Hours of Le Man in 1995. The car above was raced by BMW North America in 1996 including Pre-Le Mans, Silverstone 4 Hours and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it ran as high as third overall before finishing eighth overall, driven by Nelson Piquet, Danny Sullivan and Johnny Cecotto.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M3 GT-2 (E36)
1997-1998 SportsCar Championship
Based on the production BMW E36 M3 Coupe, these race-prepared cars won both the Drivers and Manufacturers Championship in SportsCar GT-2 for 1997 and 1998. The car above won its class at the 1997 24 Hours of Daytona and 1998 12 Hours of Sebring, and combined with other team cars won 17 straight races over the two seasons. Power comes from a race-tuned version of the 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine from the production car, making 425 horsepower and capable of a top speed of 175 mph. Drivers who raced M3s include Pete Halsmer, Derek Hill, John Paul Jr., David Donahue, Hans Stuck, Justin Bell, Peter Cunningham and Bill Auberlen.

© BMW of North AmericaBMW V12 LMR
IMSA ALMS 1999–2000
Developed with Formula One partner WilliamsF1, the BMW V12 LMR above debuted at the 1999 12 Hours of Sebring, taking the overall victory driven by Tom Kristensen, JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller in the closest finish up to that time — just 9.2 second ahead of the second-place car. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 1999, the V12 LMR of Yannick Dalmas, Pierluigi Martini and Joachim Winkelhock earned BMW its first overall victory at Le Mans. The BMW V12 LMR continued to compete in the American Le Mans Series, earning three more wins in 1999 and two victories in 2000.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW.Williams FW22-02
BMW returned to Formula One in 2000 for the first time since the mid-1980s. The FW22 was constructed by Williams in partnership with BMW Motorsports, powered by a normally-aspirated V10 engine with extremely high rpm range due to the pressurized nitrogen valve system. Ralf Schumacher drove the FW22 above to fifth place in the Driver’s Championship with three podium finishes. Along with teammate Jensen Button, the BMW.Williams F1 Team finished third in team points for the 2000 season.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M3 GTR
American Le Man Series 2001
The BMW M3 GTR raced for a single season in the American Le Mans Series, dominating the GT class with the BMW Team PTG and BMW Team Schnitzer combining to win the final six races of the season. While production M3s of this era derive power from an inline 6-cylinder engine, the M3 GTR is the first M3 powered by a V8 engine, a 4.0 liter specifically produced by BMW Motorsport as a race engine and weighing about 30 pounds less than the production engine. The car was built to a set of rules that allowed a purpose-built racing engine if a small number of road cars were produced. Bill Auberlen, Boris Said and Hans Stuck capped off the season by winning Petit Le Mans, the final race of the season. As a tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, BMW Team PTG owner Tom Milner created the patriotic “Stars and Stripes” livery for the race.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M3 GT
Developed for the American Le Mans Series / Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, the 2011–2012 BMW M3 GT is based on the fourth-generation (E92) production M3 and was raced by BMW North American in partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The M3 GT was developed to challenge in the ultra-competitive ALMS GT class against entries from Porsche, Corvette and Ferrari, and at the end of the 2011 season the M3 GT swept the championship with Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller winning the Driver title along with the Team, Manufacturer and Michelin Green X titles. Driving the No. 56 car above, Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Andy Priaulx won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011, returning to win again in 2012 with Summerton joining Hand and Mueller. The BMW M3 GT program ended after the 2012 season and the car above was restored to the 2012 12 Hours of Sebring configuration, including the night lighting package and the BMW-designed aero BBS wheels that added 3 km/h (1.8 mph) to the top speed.

© BMW of North AmericaBMW Z4 GTLM
Based on the Z4 GT3 customer race car sold in Europe — which is based on the BMW Z4 production car — the Z4 GTLM was engineered to compete in the IMSA Tudor United Sports Car Series, which launched in 2014 after the merger of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am. BMW built three cars to the GTLM specs in 2013 and raced two of them for two years, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing first entering them in 2013, the final season of the American Le Mans Series. The car above raced in 2013–2014 as the white No. 56 of Dirk Muller and John Edwards, with a win at Lime Rock in 2013.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Z4 GTD
One of the most successful privateer BMW Teams, Turner Motorsport earned the 2014 United SportsCar Championship team title and the drivers’ championship for Dane Cameron with four wins during the season and a fourth-place finish by Cameron, Markus Palttala and Chrystoffer Nygaard at Petit Le Mans, the final race of the season. Sporting the iconic Turner Motorsport blue and yellow livery, the success of the No. 94 Turner Motorsport Z4 GTD was the result of the combined efforts of Turner, BMW North America, BMW Motorsport and Intercontinental Hotel Group.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW 3.0 CSL Art Car
The first of BMW’s series of 17 Art Cars was painted in 1975 by American artist Alexander Calder, using the BMW 3.0CSL as a canvas. Calder was primarily interested in mobiles, but he was also interested in technology and art and the BMW 3.0 CSL was one of the last works he produced before this death. The Alexander Calder Art Car raced for the first and last time at the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven by Sam Posey, Jean Guichet and Herve Poulain, and has been on exhibition ever since.

© Rod Hatfield, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW M3 GT2 Art Car
The 17th car in the tradition of BMW Art Cars, the BMW M3 GT2 Art Car created in 2010 by Jeff Koons made its world premiere and was signed by Koons at the Paris’ Centre Pompidou on June 1, 2010, following the lead of Roy Lichtenstein who debuted his car at the same venue in 1977. The number 79 pays tribute to the Lichtenstein car, which wore the number 76 as a tribute to the 1976 Frank Stella car, both of which raced at Le Mans. The Jeff Koons M3 GT2 raced at Le Mans in 2010, driven by Dirk Werner, Dirk Muller and Andy Priaulx. The BMW M3 GT2 is powered by a 4.0-liter V8 engine that produces 500 horsepower.

Luxury

Uncommon Luxury Cars

High-end, well-appointed vehicles from m…

Read more

SUV

Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs of 2017

A rundown of 4WD sport-utility vehicles …

Read more

Enthusiast

Top Concept Cars of 2016

A look at future vehicles from major aut…

Read more