A Historical Celebration of Road Sports Cars That Took To The Tracks...

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GT Racecar A to Z -  


 BMW 3.5 CSL TURBO    ( Group 5 )

( Raced at Silverstone , Le Mans 1976 )

ENGINE :  3200 cc  kkkTurbo

POWER :  750 BHP @9250 RPM

WEIGHT : 1080 kgs

TOP SPEED : approx 200 MPH


The ultimate CSL raced just 3 times and broke

3 times but for that first hour at Silverstone

on its debut Ronnie Peterson entertained the

crowd lifting the wheel of the new turbo car.

Peterson led the first 14 laps after Ickx lost

his clutch at the start in the 935.`coming out of

Becketts Peterson literally had to ease the

throttle all the time` reported MotorSport.

`until the wheelspin had abated to launch the car

down the Hangar straight at a reported 178 mph`

Peterson lost 3rd gear around 10 laps and then all

gears forcing retirement. The car joined the non-

turbo regular CSLs at Le Mans but blew its engine

in qualifying , damaged the replacement on race

morning. It had qualified 8th , though still 8 secs

behind Stommelens 935. Brian Redman started it

but as feared it lost all itrs oil and retired in the

3rd hour. The car ran with `graph paper`artwork

livery by Frank Stella but otherwise had the same

bodywork as the non-turbo CSLs from 1976. Its

final race was at Dijon where Peterson out

qualified championship leader Ickx for the pole and

had a 2-stage turbo engine developed by Schnitzer

than gave Peterson power at lower revs than

before. He held Ickx off for 33 `glorious` laps

before the diff broke and Ickx took his for

Silverstone. Autosport reported that Schnitzer

had the can on the BMW 3 mile test straight with

the longest axle ratio and reached 205 mph.

The car now is part of the BMW `Art Car`


 BMW CSL 3.0   ( Group 2 )

( Raced at Le Mans and major international races

1973-81 )

ENGINE :  6 Cylinders  3340 cc ( 1973 )

                                       3498 cc ( 1974 )

POWER :  detuned to 360 BHP ( 10.5 : 1 )

      Le Mans `73.    400 BHP ( Daytona `75 )

WEIGHT :  1210 KGS ( Le Mans `73 )

TOP SPEED :         MPH

( Le Mans data 1973 )

BHP PER TONNE : 297.5 ( Le Mans 1973 )

PRODUCTION : 1039 ( 1972-75 ) with 39

homolgation specials `batmobiles` with rear wing

and aerokit. Road cars had 206 bhp.

In 1973 BMWs rapid development of their CSL

racer would see it first overcome their deadly

rivals in the European Touring Cars , Ford and in

1976 beat the Porsche 935 in 3 rounds in GT.

The Alpina team had won at the ETC opener at

Monza with hot-shot driver Niki Lauda and took

7th overall and the class win at the Spa 1000kms

with ( soon to be signed by the works ) Hans

Stuck. The second class win actually came almost

unoticed when 2 Italians finished 35th on the

Targa Florio to be in the world championship , the

only 2.0+ Touring car in the event. So enter the

new works team , headed by Joachim Neerspach.

9th at Nurburgring 1000 was still 3 places

behind Ford for Hezemans + Quester and the  

pair also had to give second best at Le Mans in 11  

th overall. Amon + Stuck retiring at both in the

other car. Then in July the car gained a rear

spoiler as part of the homologation package to

give high speed stability and 5 more wins in the

ETC took it passed Ford at last. Hezemans +

Quester winning 3 including the Spa 24 hours.

1974 - The works only raced at Nurburgring with

Stuck + Ickx retiring and likewise at Kyalami for

Peterson + Scheckter. Honour though was upheld

by the customer cars , Jolly Club winning the

class at Spa ( 8th ) and Aubriet`s car at Le Mans

( 15th ). Air ducts in the rear wheel arches to

cool the brakes first appear on the Hurtig car at

Watkins Glen but still a dnf for Follmer + co.

1975 - Enjoying IMSA`s more liberal rules two

works cars qualified 2nd + 3rd at the Daytona

24 hours with full slit intakes at the rear and

more power , 400 bhp. Gordon Kirby wrote for

Autosport`The immaculate + thoroughly thought

out BMW`s impressed even the most critical of

their new competitors + the skill of the drivers

( Peterson,Redman,Posey + Stuck ) was yet more

awsome`. Engine failure ended that race but at

the Sebring ( IMSA series only , unlike Daytona

that year ) saw BMW`s first outright win ever

at a major GT race. Posey + Stuck joining team

mates Redman + Moffat after their car retired

for all 4 men to share the win. Stuck + Quester

went on to win at IMSA Riverside 6 hours too.

Back in the world championship Alpina won the

class with an impressive 3rd overall for Peltier +

Siggi Muller at the Spa 1000 and class win again

at Nurburgring 1000 ( 13th ). A 7th class win for

the car in this form came at Watkins Glen 6

hours for Posey + Redman in a works car.

1976+ The new 3.5 car was unleashed in the new

world championship for makes but a few of the

`3.0`cars carried on...24th at Le Mans in 1976

and 1st at Kyalami ( both non-championship events

for Scheckter,Grohs + Nilsson. A final class win

of note was in 1977 at Le Mans when one of the

2 Luigi Racing cars , in more modest European

Touring Car trim ( rounded whell arches ) took a

class win in the IMSA class as there was no real

class for tourers and a fine 8th overall. Finally

US-based `Bavarian Motors` ran one in the

Daytona 24 hours ( part of the WCM+IMSA ) in

1978,79,80+81 events with a best finish in 27th.

CSL   3.0         1973

2800 CS               1972

 BMW 2800CS  ( ETC Group 2 )

( Raced in International Sports events 1972 inc

Le Mans )

ENGINE :  2990 cc  6 Cylinder

POWER :   BHP ( Le Mans trim )


TOP SPEED : 155 MPH ( Le Mans 1972 )

PRODUCTION : 9400 `CS 2800` ( 1968-71 )

                          11,063 `CS 3000` ( 1971-75 )

                           8,199 `CSi 3000` ( 1971-75 )

Ford had won the 1971 + 72 European Touring car

championships but their main rivals BMW were

on course to beat them not just in that arena but

in world sports cars as both companies clashed

again alongside the GT cars in the world champ-

ionship. The 2800 CS brought BMW back to Le

Mans for the first time since the 30`s when the

Schnitzer car of Hans Heyer and Dieter Herzog

climbed to 25th before fuel supply problems put

them out against the 4 rival Capris. The Alpina

team had already attempted to match the Fords

at Spa and with a 4-car entry at the Nurburgring

but the BMW works was ready to step in to raise

the stakes for 1973.



Porsche had dominated GT racing since the Carrera arrived for 1973 and had won the class at every 1000 km World Championship since. Which manufacturer could stop the domination ? Then at Silverstone 1976 the Porsches were finally beaten and in the next 2 races too. BMW had turned their old `Touring ` car the CSL into a world class race winner and an iconic 70`s race car...

BMW 2800 CS in 1972 World Sports Car Championship

 BMW CSL 3.5    ( Group 5 )            1976

( Raced at Le Mans and major international races

in second half of the 70`s )

ENGINE :  6 Cylinders  3498 cc

POWER :  470-480 BHP

WEIGHT :  1020 KGS



The new Group 5 GT formula for `silhouette`

cars arrived , a year later than planned , in 1976

and BMW were the only serious opposition to the

new Porsche 935. This would be the final

evolution for the CSL race car as the road car

production had already ceased. The works team

would only run a one-off turbo version ( see

below ) but support its customer cars against

Porsche. The Hermitite team combined two

determined and gifted British drivers , John

Fitzpatrick ( the 1972+74 European GT champ

with Porsche ironically ) and Tom Walkinshaw the

touring car driver and future TWR Jaguar group

C team owner. The  pair raced in all 7 rounds plus

Le Mans but the highlight was round 3 at the

Silverstone 1000 when Porsches dominance was

at last broken. Despite losing a full 5 minutes in

the pits with a jammed-on brake pad the pair had

enough to beat the Kremer 935 to take a famous

win.`Its rare to see a British crowd ( 12,000 )

on their feet` reported Autosport `but they did

for the few remaining laps until Fitzpatrick slid

into view passing the flag`.Likewise Schnitzer

ran at every round with Dieter Quester the

regular driver. Albrecht Krebs assisted at most

rounds and the pair bagged BMW`s second win of the season at R4 Nurburgring .With Lotus F1 man    

Gunnar Nilsson co-driving at R5 Zeltweg with

Quster the team won again after the Porsches

hit trouble for the third of the 3 wins that year

though Porsche won the last 2 to stay as top GT

dog. The Alpina-Faltz team ran the 6 European-

based rounds for Harold Grohs and others and

took 2nd at R2 Vallelunga. See full result chart

on left. For 1977 the whole programme moved

over to supporting the 2-litre class 320i but the

old CSL had made its mark and remains a true

70`s iconic race car.


BMW 3.0 CSL in 1973 World Sports Car Championship

BMW 3.0 CSL in 1974 World Sports Car Championship

BMW 3.0 CSL in 1975 World Sports Car Championship

Also 1st at Sebring 12 hours , Riverside 6 hours ( IMSA )   - all works cars

BMW 3.5 CSL in 1976 World Championship of Makes

1973 - The Works CSL in the now recognisable white livery with stripes. Stuck, Amom, Hezemans + Quester were the drivers...the rear wing arrived July as part of the on going homologation package.

1974 - The Works CSL went blue just for

this season. This is Stuck at Nurburgring

but customers cars won the G2 classes at Spa and Le Mans.

1972 -The Alpina 2800cs European Touring car appeared in the world sports car championship and started BMWs GT ambitions rolling...