BMW North America at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
Seven historic race cars from the BMW USA Classic collection are to be raced at Laguna Seca during the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion this week in Monterey, California. The cars are among over 60 BMWs participating in an event that will celebrate BMWs centennial.
As the featured marquee this year, BMW will be represented on the track by everything from 328s of the 1930s to the Bimmers of the late ‘90s and early 2000s.
Participating from the BMW USA Classic collection will be:
1970 BMW Alpina 2002ti Created as a higher performance version of BMWs compact sports sedan, the Touring Internationale (ti) had twin two-barrel Solex sidedraft carburetors, front and rear sway bars, high-performance tires, and a 5-speed gearbox. The platform proved to be a winning combination for racers of the ‘60s and ‘70s. This particular racing 2002ti from the collection was built in 1970 by Alpina GmbH, an all-in-one German BMW constructor, tuner, and race team. The car features the builders signature Weber side draft carburetors, engine upgrades, flared fenders and three-piece Alpina alloy wheels. The car was later campaigned in SCCA events in California before beginning a 24-year retirement. The car was reconditioned and painted in non-period-correct BMW Motorsport livery and entered for the BMW celebration at the 1996 Monterey Historic Races. It has since been driven by Nick Craw, John Morton, Danica Patrick, Boris Said, Bill Auberlen and Tommy Milner. In 2014, with the help of Alpina, the car was restored to its original 1970 orange with semi-gloss Black hood and rear deck livery. The car will be driven by Road & Track editor Sam Smith in Group 3B: 1963-1973 FIA Manufacturers Championship.
1975 BMW 3.0 CSL IMSA Group 4 No. 25 The 3.0 CSL was an aluminum-skinned homologation special based off the production 3.0 CS coupe and became one of the most successful production racers of all time, having dominated European touring car racing earning the “Batmobile” nickname from fans. Through its years of development, the 3.0-liter engine grew to 3.2 and then 3.5, increasing horsepower from 340 to 430. From the collection, chassis No. 2275985 was one of a group of five 3.0 CSL cars campaigned in North America in the IMSA Camel GT Series in Group 4 specifications in 1975 and 1976. All five chassis are still in existence and they are expected to be reunited in Monterey. Victories for chassis No. 2275987 included Sebring, Riverside, Laguna Seca, Daytona and Talladega in 1975, while in 1976 it was campaigned as the No. 59 car driven by Peter Gregg, Brian Redman and John Fitzpatrick and won its class at the 24 Hours of Daytona. The car will be driven by BMW of North America president and chief executive Ludwig Willisch in Group 4A: 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA.
1981 BMW M1 IMSA Group 4 No. 2 Eager to challenge Porsche, BMW Motorsport saw opportunity in a new racing series, in which rules stipulated the purpose-built race cars have a street version for sale to the public. Thus the BMW M1, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, which debuted at the 1978 Paris Auto Show. The M1 was powered by a mid-engine Paul Rosche-designed 3.5-liter, twin-cam 6-cylinder M88 engine. While development and production delays with outside contractors ultimately caused its demise, a few of the M1 ProCars were imported to the U.S., modified for endurance racing and successfully raced in IMSA GTO competition. BMW of North America only entered its M1 in the longer IMSA Group 4 races of the 1981 season as the company’s racing program shifted focus. This M1 IMSA Group 4 (Chassis No. 4301223) was the spare car for the BMW of North America team and has seen limited racing action. It will be driven by The Drive auto tester Lawrence Ulrich in Group 4A with Willisch.
1996 McLaren F1 GTR Powered by BMW The McLaren F1 was the first car of its time to feature a fully carbon fiber structure, stressed engine, and other advanced race technologies that had been adapted for street use. To power the F1, McLaren turned to BMW to develop an engine worthy of this supercar and BMW responded by developing a naturally aspirated 6.0-liter, twin-cam, 4 valve, V-12, developing 636 horsepower. The McLaren F1 was the world's fastest and most technically advanced production car in its day, having hit 231 mph on March 31, 1998. Production of the BMW powered F1 began in 1992 and ended in 1998 with 106 cars manufactured. Of those, 64 cars were the standard street version (F1), five were LMs (tuned versions), three were longtail road cars (GT), five were prototypes (XP), 28 race cars (GTR) and one was the LM prototype (XP LM). The race versions of the F1, the F1 GTR, had racing success that included winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in its first try in 1995, defeating purpose-built prototype race cars while the F1 GTR differs only slightly from the production car. From the BMW USA Classic collection, chassis No. 17R was sponsored by BMW of North America in 1996 and had a three-race career. The first race was the Pre-Le Mans race in May ’96, where it finished in 13th place. It then ran in the Silverstone 4 Hours and finished fourth followed by its third and final competition, the 1996 24 hours of Le Mans. After running as high as third overall, 017R finished in eighth place. The car was retired after the 1996 Le Mans race and it remains in original and unrestored condition. The F1 GTR will be driven by racer and television announcer Justin Bell, who drove a sister McLaren F1 GTR to third overall at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bell will run in Group 5B: 1981-1991 FIA manufacturers Championship, IMSA GTO/GTP.
1998 BMW (E36) M3 GT-2 Created to be a higher-performance version of the popular E36 M3, the M3 GT-2 was equipped with race-tuned versions of the 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder production engine rated with 425 horsepower and top speeds at 175 mph. The M3 GT-2 also featured the removal of normal road equipment such as VANOS, air conditioning, audio equipment, anti-lock braking, sound insulation, and other interior components to reduce weight. The M3 GT-2 won the 1997 and 1998 drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships in PSCR SportsCar GT-2 category for production-based cars in addition to winning 17 straight races in those seasons. This particular chassis won its class its class in both the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1998 and the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1997. This M3 GT-2 will be driven by current BMW Motorsport driver John Edwards and will run in Group 5B: 1981-1991 FIA manufacturers Championship, IMSA GTO/GTP.
1999 BMW V12 LMR The BMW V12 LMR was developed with Formula 1 partner WilliamsF1 and was purpose-built to compete in the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans and ALMS Series. From the BMW USA Classic collection, this V12 LMR made its debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, 1999, winning overall by 9.2 seconds. The car then drove to the front of the field and gave BMW its first and only overall victory at Le Mans. The car continued to compete in the American Le Mans series and won races at Sears Point, Laguna Seca, and Las Vegas. Of the 18 races entered, the V12 LMR only retired twice for mechanical issues. This car is one of four remaining, of five cars produced. BMW ace driver, Bill Auberlen, is to drive the V12 LMR in Group 5B: 1981-1991 FIA manufacturers Championship, IMSA GTO/GTP.
2001 BMW (E46) M3 GTR V8 The M3 GTR was built to a set of rules that existed for only one season and allowed a manufacturer to compete with a purpose-built racing engine as long as a number of road cars were produced. Designated “P60,” the 4.0-liter V8 engine was the first engine designed and constructed by BMW Motorsport specifically as a race engine while also making the M3 GTR the first M3 in the history of the company to feature a V8. Despite adding two cylinders, the engine was smaller and weighed 30 pounds less than the inline 6-cylinder of the regular M3. Other notable features of the V8 is that it featured a “flat plane” crankshaft that allowed for more efficient exhaust with optimal flow at high rpm resulting in a 444 horsepower output. The BMW M3 GTR competed in the American Le Mans competition for a single, controversial season that concluded with victory at the 2001 Petit Le Mans finale, where it was dressed in patriotic “Stars and Stripes” livery created as a tribute to a grieving nation. Two M3 GTR race cars were campaigned during the season. Between the two, the M3 GTR won six races in a row from five pole positions while setting six race lap records. The BMW M3 GTR earned the ALMS Manufacturers’ Championship for BMW. From the BMW USA Classic collection, chassis M3-GTR-00, is one of the BMW Team PTG M3s that swept the manufacturer, driver and Tteam GT class championships in the 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series, winning 10 of 12 races, including six 1-2 podium finishes. BMW driver and dealer Boris Said will drive the M3 GTR and will run in Group 5B: 1981-1991 FIA manufacturers Championship, IMSA GTO/GTP.
Nicole James has been involved in the automotive world her entire life. Her dream car is a 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe. She currently drives a 2005 Mustang affectionately known as Marilyn and uses the car to participate in track events, car shows, and explore the world around her. Nicole joined the ClassicCars.com Content and Marketing team in 2014. Nicole is an automotive journalist and the creator of Pretty Driven - an online source for car culture and news for millennials, as well as a contributor for ClassicCars.com. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @Nicoleeellan