Heroes of Bavaria

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Motorsports
A new exhibit showcasing 75 years of BMW Motorsports opened in May 2018 at LeMay — America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington. Last year the BMW Car Club of America Foundation worked with BMW of North America and private owners to put together the Heroes of Bavaria — 75 Years of BMW Motorsports exhibit at the BMW CCA Foundation Museum, located next to the BMW Performance Center in Greer, South Carolina. ACM worked with the foundation to bring Heroes of Bavaria to the West Coast.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHeroes of Bavaria
The new Heroes of Bavaria exhibit now at America’s Car Museum in Tacoma through May 2019 consists of 17 important BMW race cars, beginning with a 1937 BMW 328 Roadster and continuing the BMW racing story through the 2017 BMW M6 GTLM that raced in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. Eight of the cars are from the BMWUSA Classic Collection, with the balance sourced from private owners.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1937 BMW 328 Roadster
The oldest car in the Heroes of Bavaria exhibit is a 1937 BMW 328 Roadster — a model BMW produced from 1936 to 1940. BMW wanted this car to win races, and the first 30 of the 434 cars that were built were sold to owners who were already racers. The BMW 328 made its racing debut at the Nurburgring in 1936, where it won the 2.0-liter class; 328s earned more than 100 class wins in 1937. In 1938 the BMW 328 won its class at Le Mans, the RAC Tourist Trophy, the Alpine Rally and the Mille Miglia.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1937 BMW 328 Roadster
This 1937 BMW 328 is powered by a 1.9-liter inline 6-cylinder engine producing 80 horsepower, combined with a 4-speed ZF manual transmission. It was delivered new to Dutch racer Piet Nortier in 1937, and in June 1939 Nortier won the first road race held at Zandvoort, the track that later hosted the Dutch Grand Prix. In 1940 Nortier hid the car in a barn near Amsterdam and later moved it to The Hague, but resumed racing three years later. The car came to the U.S. sometime after 1949 and was purchased in 1968 — while still in boxes — by Chicago racer and author Fred Egloff. The car is on loan from the Lance & Diane White collection.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1961 BMW 700 RS
The BMW 700 RS is one of two prototype cars built with the intention to turn the 700 Sport into a race car that would be competitive for private owners in hill climb events. The 700 RS features a lightweight steel tube frame and aluminum bodywork, and is powered by a 700cc horizontally-opposed BMW production motorcycle engine generating 78 horsepower, combined with a 4-speed manual transmission.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1961 BMW 700 RS
Driven by Hans Stuck, Sr., the 700 RS debuted on June 18, 1961, at Rossfeld and at the next race at Schauinsland. Walter Schneider won the 1000cc sports car class. Another BMW 700, not one of the prototype 700 RS versions, won the 1961 German Saloon Car Championship.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1965 BMW 1800 TI/SA
In 1965 BMW produced a special model run of 200 cars intended for European sedan racing, known as the BMW 1800 TI/SA —for Turismo Internationale/Sport-Ausfuhrung — sold only to buyers with a FIA touring car competition license. Powered by a 130-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, the 1800 TI/SA features a Getrag 5-speed sport transmission, limited-slip differential, rear anti-roll bar, Koni shocks, bucket seats and an optional larger fuel tank.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1965 BMW 1800 TI/SA
The 1800 TI/SA was quite successful in its time, including an overall win by Pascal Ickx and Gerald Langlois van Ophem in 1965 at the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium. This particular car was the personal car of Don Dethlefsen, the founder of The Werk Shop, a BMW restoration business in Chicago.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1972 BMW 3.0 CSL Rally
BMW Motorsport’s only CSL rally car, this 3.0 CSL developed by Alpina is powered by a 300-horsepower 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine with triple Weber carburetors combined with a Getrag 5-speed transmission. Because the 3.0 CSL had not yet been approved for racing, BMW replaced the aluminum hood, doors and trunk lid with steel CS parts before entering the car as a 2800 CS in the Ostmark Rallye in April 1972. Gerd Raschig and Peter Linzen finished second in that event.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1972 BMW 3.0 CSL Rally
Finnish driver Rauno Aaltonen and British navigator John Davenport contested the Olympia Rally from Kiel to Munich in August 1972. The rally began in Kiel and proceeded south and west to the Nurburgring before turning east through the mountains and on to the finish in Munich Olympia Park. The car was raced twice at the Nuburgring in 1973 and later ended up in the U.S. The car spent 20 years in a Philadelphia garage, and in 2011 collector Peter Gleeson shipped the car to England for restoration by CSL expert Alex Elliott.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1975 BMW 3.5 CSL
Powered by a 430-horsepower 3.5-liter inline 6-cylinder with a Getrag 5-speed transmission, the BMW 3.5 CSL #2275988 was built by BMW Motorsport to compete in the IMSA GT Championship in the U.S. In February 1975, Hans Stuck and Sam Posey raced this 3.5 CSL at the 24 Hours of Daytona in the familiar white BMW Motorsports livery as car No. 24, but failed to finish the race due to engine problems.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1975 BMW 3.5 CSL
After competing in the initial races of the IMSA series, #2275988 returned to Europe and raced for BMW Motorsport in two European racing series. In addition to Stuck and Posey, other drivers included Ronnie Peterson, Harold Grohs, Ralf Stommelen and Hemeut Kelleners.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1977 BMW 320 Turbo
Following the CSL, the BMW 320 was raced in both Europe and the U.S. with both normally-aspirated and turbocharged engines based on the successful BMW Formula 2 engine. This 320 Turbo chassis #002 was developed by McLaren Engines for BMW NA and raced in the IMSA Series powered by a turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that produced 625 horsepower at 9500 rpm. Built with steel unit-construction, the 320 Turbo features an alloy roll cage and fiberglass body while the MacPherson strut/trailing arm suspension includes magnesium uprights and aluminum hubs.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1977 BMW 320 Turbo
David Hobbs drove #002 to victories at Road Atlanta and Laguna Seca in 1977 and Sears Point in 1978, co-driving with Ronnie Peterson and Manfred Winkelhock for the endurance races. Jim Busby raced a sibling car in the 1979 IMSA Camel GT series.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1981 March-BMW Formula 2
Formula 2 was a single-seat, open-wheel racing series intended as a competitive series for the development and training of teams and drivers before Formula 1, the top international formula series. BMW partnered with racing constructor March and won six Formula 2 championships in ten years from 1973 to 1982 before Formula 2 was replaced by Formula 3000 in 1985.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1981 March-BMW Formula 2
This March-BMW 812 was designed by Robin Herd and powered by a Paul Rosche inline 4-cylinder engine producing an estimated 370 horsepower. In 1982 Christian Danner drove this car to fourth overall in the Formula 2 championship over the 13-race season.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1981 March-BMW M1/C
Built for BMW North America’s entry in the new 1981 IMSA GTP series for high-downforce, powerful prototype sports cars, this March-BMW M1/C is the only one ever produced. The first car designed by March Engineering for IMSA GTP, the M1/C followed the mid-engine design of the M1 but with an aluminum monocoque, fiberglass body, rocker/coil spring suspension, a large rear wing and ground effects tunnels underneath. The M1-based 3.5-liter engine was not powerful enough so McLaren North America adapted the 320 Turbo engine for this new application. David Hobbs and Marc Surer debuted the car in April 1981 at the Riverside 6 Hour race with a sixth-place finish.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1981 March-BMW M1/C
After four races BMW could see that the M1-based 3.5-liter 6-cylinder engine was not powerful enough to win, so McLaren North America modified the engine package from the 320 Turbo for the M1/C, producing 650 horsepower at 9000 rpm paired with a Hewland 5-speed gearbox. Reliability issues plagued the remainder of the season and the highlight was a fourth-place finish at Portland before the M1/C program ended after one season.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1986 BMW 635i John Player Special
The BMW 635i sports the John Player Special livery of the JPS Team BMW that raced in the Australian Touring Car Championship from 1981 to 1987 under the direction of British Touring Car Champion Frank Gardner. The JPS BMWs struggled the first few years against V8-powered competition, but became very successful when the series changed to Group A rules for the 1985 season.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1986 BMW 635i John Player Special
JPS Team BMW won the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1985, with New Zealand driver Jim Richards winning seven of the ten races, including six in a row. Richards also won the 1985 Australian Endurance Championship, winning five out of six races and was undefeated in AMSCAR, a touring car series with all races held at Amaroo Park Raceway. In 1986 Richards won only one race and finished third in the Australian Touring Car Championship before moving to the BMW M3 for the 1987 season.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1987 BMW E30 M3
Two pre-production BMW E30 M3s were entered in the IMSA Firestone Firehawk Endurance Championship by longtime IMSA competitor Korman Autoworks. The Firehawk series was for essentially stock production cars with minimum modifications allowed, and the BMW M3 competed against more powerful cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, Nissan 300ZX and Porsche 944. The E30 M3 is powered by 2.3-liter 4-cylinder producing 200 horsepower combined with a Getrag 5-speed manual transmission.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1987 BMW E30 M3
Despite the horsepower disadvantage, the BMW M3 used superior handling, braking, fuel mileage and driver skill to earn four wins and multiple podium finishes over two seasons. Drivers included Davey Jones, John Andretti, Ray Korman and Ron Christianson. This chassis #219001 was the first U.S.-spec E30 M3 built.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1992 BMW E36 M3 GTS-3
Motorsport Chassis #1, this is the first BMW Motorsport racing E36 M3 chassis built in 1992, which was used for Motorsport development before it was sold to Tom Milner’s PTG racing team in 1994. The E36 M3 was designed to succeed the E30 M3 in DTM racing, but BMW pulled out of DTM in December 1992. The engine had been homologated for international racing so PTG was able to use the European 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder which produces 380 horsepower.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1992 BMW E36 M3 GTS-3
One of the first PTG IMSA cars for the 1995 season, PTG continued to race it through the 1997 season. Drivers included Bill Auberlen, John Paul Jr., Pete Halsmer, Dieter Quester and Marc Duez. Motorsport chassis #1 earned one win at Laguna Seca in 1997, along with eight second-place and two third-place podium finishes over three seasons from 1995 to 1997.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1994 BMW E34 M5
Three of these BMW M5s were built to compete in the IMSA Bridgestone Potenza Supercar Championship. The engine uses many components of the production car powerplant and was developed with Zytec Engineering to produce 450 horsepower at 8500 rpm, combined with a 5-speed Hewland gearbox. Prepared by Ed Arnold Racing, David Dohonue drove this car to the 1994 IMSA Bridgestone Supercar Championship, winning or finishing second in seven of the eight races for the season.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1994 BMW E34 M5
The next season David Donohue moved to the BMW M3 racing program, but Shawn Hendricks took over the Ed Arnold Racing M5 and won the 1995 IMSA Bridgestone Supercar driver’s championship. Other drivers who raced the BMW M5 in the IMSA Supercar series include Rob Wilson, Cort Wagner and Randy Pobst.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1994 BMW E36 320i Super Touring
A car from the Peter and Jennifer Gleeson collection, this example was originally a BMW Motorsport Team Schnitzer car that raced in the 1994 British Touring Car Championship driven by Roberto Ravaglia, Steve Soper and Joachm Winkelhock. The BMW 320i is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 270 horsepower, paired with a Hollinger 6-speed sequential gearbox.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience1994 BMW E36 320i Super Touring
For the 1995 season, this E36 race car was acquired by BMW Australia and raced by Geoff Brabham in the Australian Super Touring Championship sponsored by Diet Coke. Brabham earned five wins during the season and finished second in the championship. This car continued to race in Australia with a number of different teams through the 1999 season.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2000 BMW Williams FW22
BMW returned to Formula 1 racing in 2000, partnering with Williams to form BMW WilliamsF1. The Williams FW22 chassis featured a carbon aramid composite monocoque with double wishbone pushrod suspension, torsion bar rear and coil spring front, powered by a 3.0-liter BMW V10 producing 810 horsepower at 17500 rpm, combined with a Williams 7-speed semi-automatic gearbox.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2000 BMW Williams FW22
This BMW Williams FW22 was raced in 2000 by Ralf Schumacher who finished third in Australia, Belgium and Italy; fifth in Brazil, France and Hungary; and seventh in Germany. Schumacher went on to finish fifth in the driver standings for the 2000 F1 Championship. Schumacher’s teammate in 2000 was eventual F1 world champion Jensen Button, and the BMW Williams team finished the season third in team points behind Ferrari and McLaren.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2011 BMW E92 M3 GT
Based on the fourth-generation E92 M3, BMW Motorsport in Munich developed the 2011 M3 GT to compete in the American Le Mans Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Visually similar to the championship-winning 2010 M3 GT2, the 2011 M3 GT underwent substantial development to face strong competition from Ferrari, Porsche and Corvette. The M3 GT was raced in ALMS in partnership between BMW North America and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, powered by a 4.0-liter V8 producing 450+ horsepower at 8200 rpm combined with an Xtrac 6-speed transaxle and carbon fiber clutch. Joey Hand and Dirk Muller driving the No. 56 M3 GT won the 2011 ALMS Drivers Championship with the team taking the manufacturer’s title.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2011 BMW E92 M3 GT
Hand and Muller teamed with Andy Priaulx in the No. 56 to win the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2011 and returned the following year teamed with Jonathan Summerton for a repeat victory. The M3 GT program ended following the 2012 season, and this car was restored to its 2012 12 Hours of Sebring configuration including the lighting package and special BMW-designed aero BBS wheels that increased top speed by 1.8 mph.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2014 BMW E89 Z4 GTLM
The Z4 GTLM was built to compete in the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship series which began in 2014 after the merger of the American Le Mans Series and Grand Am, and was based on the customer Z4 GT3 race car sold in Europe. BMW built three cars to Z4 GTLM specification for the Tudor series but only two have ever been raced. The Z4 GTLM is powered by a 4.4-liter V8 producing 480 horsepower at 7000 rpm (restricted), combined with an Xtrac 6-speed semi-automatic sequential gearbox with paddle shifters.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2014 BMW E89 Z4 GTLM
BMW Team RLL entered two Z4 GTLMs in the final ALMS race of 2013 before racing the entire 2014 Tudor season. This car, chassis #1301 was raced full-time in 2014 by Dirk Muller and John Edwards, with Graham Rahal and Dirk Werner joining them for the Daytona and Road Atlanta races. For the 2015 12 Hours of Sebring the car was painted in this special 40th Anniversary livery inspired by the #25 BMW 3.0 CSL, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the #25’s win at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2017 BMW M6 GTLM
For the 2016 season the BMW M6 GTLM replaced the Z4 GTLM, based on the customer racing M6 GT3, but once again modified to adhere to the IMSA rules for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Powered by a 4.4-liter V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology producing up to 585 horsepower, changes to the M6 GTLM included no ABS, no traction control, a longer wheelbase and lighter weight.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2017 BMW M6 GTLM
For the final race of the 2017 season, the IMSA 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the No. 25 M6 GTLM received a special ”Bill Power” livery to commemorate driver Bill Auberlen’s 400 races with BMW. Since the M6 GTLM was retired after the 2017 season, the No. 25 M6 GTLM has not been cleaned since the end of the race, giving museum visitors a look at what a car looks like after 10 hours of grueling competition on the track.

© LeMay — America’s Car MuseumLeMay — America’s Car Museum
Located off Interstate 5 in downtown Tacoma, Washington, LeMay — America’s Car Museum is a must-see venue for car enthusiasts or anyone interesting in learning a little about the history of the automobile. Just a 30-minute drive from Seattle or two hours from Portland, a visit to the museum would be a fascinating addition to the schedule of any visit to the Pacific Northwest. Exhibits rotate and Heroes of Bavaria — 75 Years of BMW Motorsports joins others such as Classics and Custom Coachwork; Master Collectors; British Invasion; Route 66: Sixties on 66; and Legends of Motorsport: The NASCAR Story.

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