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BMW Unveils Tribute Livery for 40th Anniversary of First US Race Win at the 12 Hours of Sebring

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – Embargo 9:00am EDT, March 14, 2015… Today, BMW of North America publicly unveiled a special livery, which pays homage to the IMSA 3.0 CSL, for the two BMW Team RLL Z4 GTLM cars that will race in the 2015 edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 21st. The unveiling took place during “Cars & Coffee at the Concours” which is part of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance weekend in Northern Florida. 1975 12 Hours of Sebring winning drivers Brian Redman, Sam Posey and Hans Stuck, 1972 -1980 BMW Motorsport Manager Jochen Neerpasch and current BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt were on-hand when BMW ace driver Bill Auberlen drove the car onto the show field to the applause of show goers and BMW Motorsport fans.

BMW AG began the decade of the 1970s in transition. While the company battled to establish its own distribution in North America, one of its directors pushed to formalize a racing program in Germany. In an inspired drive, then-BMW AG Sales and Marketing Director, Bob Lutz, successfully lured former race driver turned race team manager Jochen Neerpasch and race engineer Martin Braungart from Ford of Europe in May of 1972. With the help of Lutz’s understanding ear on the Board, BMW Motorsport GmbH was formed. The newcomers had much work ahead of them, but not in all areas. Engines were always BMW’s strong suit – in no small part due to the talents of BMW master engine designer Paul Rosche. And, strangely enough, it was the newness of the motorsports company and the absence of a layered infrastructure that allowed Neerpasch and Braungart to develop the racing CSL in a few short months. This lightweight special would become BMW’s weapon of choice for nearly the next 10 years.

The ’73 season ended with both the European Touring Car Driver’s and Manufacturer’s championships awarded to BMW. There was certainly light at the end of the tunnel – unfortunately it was an oncoming train in the form of the world’s energy crisis. The energy crisis, in combination with the large expenditure for a new BMW 5 Series assembly plant, meant that factory racing took a back seat in 1974.

So then, how did BMW end up in victory lane Sebring, Florida, in March 1975? While Neerpasch and company fought on the race tracks of Europe, another battle was being waged over the distribution of BMW cars in North America. Ultimately, BMW of North America was formed and began distributing cars in March of 1975, and the new company looked for ways to establish its identity and grow the brand. A commonly-told story of the early days was that many Americans were mistakenly under the impression that BMW stood for British Motor Works.

While racing is not always treated affectionately in the boardrooms of auto companies, nothing proves and improves a brand like racing. The decision was made for BMW to contest the IMSA Camel GT Series in 1975 with two 3.0 CSLs and four world-class drivers: Brian Redman, Hans Stuck, Ronnie Peterson, and Sam Posey. To dispel any misconceptions as to exactly who had come to race, the cars featured BAVARIAN MOTOR WORKS printed across the windshield tops.

The BMW team arrived at Sebring after disappointment at Daytona 1975, one month earlier. After qualifying a strong second and third at the season opener, both cars retired with connecting rod failures. The 12 Hours of Sebring began with three major changes. Allan Moffat substituted for Ronnie Peterson, who could not compete in a non-FIA race. European-proven Dunlop tires replaced the Goodyears tried at Daytona. Finally, new connecting rods were designed, tested, and installed. As usual, Hans Stuck put his car on the pole – by some five seconds.

Confidently starting the race, the No. 24 car of Stuck and Posey pulled out an early lead over Corvettes and Porsches. The· No. 25 car of Redman and Moffat ran a bit farther back as Moffat got familiar with the car. Sebring is one of the world’s most demanding races, and within a matter of hours began to wear down out the lead CSL and its competitors. As an oil leak promised the end for Stuck and Posey, the race lead fell to the No. 25 CSL, and increasingly onto the shoulders of veteran racer Redman, who stayed in the car stint-after-stint because Moffat could not match his speed. After retiring the No. 24 car, Stuck and Posey pitched in, but it was Redman’s drive of more than seven hours of twelve that meant victory for BMW and the team.

1975, the BMW CSL, and the 12 Hours of Sebring all symbolize the simultaneous startups of a BMW national sales company and BMW Motorsport in North America. The significance and achievements are not underestimated by today’s BMW, whose brand turns 100 years old in 2016. Only four men stood on the roof of the winning BMW in Sebring’s victory lane, but many others deserved to. After that stunning first win, BMW Motorsport and BMW of North America have charged ahead, consistently winning races, championships, and the hears of fans, employees, and loyal customers for the ensuing four decades.

 

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BMW Celebrates 40th Anniversary of First US Race Win at 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – March 10, 2015 … BMW of North America will mark the 40th anniversary of two key milestones in the company’s history in the United States at the 20th-annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island, March 12-15, 2015. Forty years ago, BMW of North America began operating as a subsidiary of BMW AG, and only days later, BMW Motorsport scored its first US victory at the 1975 12 Hours of Sebring.

Also to be celebrated at the Concours is the legendary BMW 328, which helped establish the company’s decades-long racing heritage. BMW of North America and BMW Group Classic have helped gather a group of significant BMW 328 models, including the 328 Touring Mille Miglia Coupe that pioneered lightweight construction techniques and advanced aerodynamics, and won the 1940 Mille Miglia endurance race. A sure highlight will be the BMW 328 in which Sir Stirling Moss, once again the Concours’ honoree, won his first professional race, circa 1947.

BMW of North America will publicly launch its 40th Anniversary celebration with “Cars & Coffee at the Concours” on Saturday, March 14, where it will unveil the special BMW 3.0 CSL-inspired livery for the current Z4 GTLM cars that will race in the 2015 edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring, on March 21st. BMW ace driver Bill Auberlen and 1975 12 Hours of Sebring winners Brian Redman, Sam Posey, and Hans Stuck will be on-hand for the unveiling. Also on-hand will be original BMW Motorsport Director Jochen Neerpasch, and the complete BMW Motorsport crew from the 1975 IMSA Camel GT effort.

BMW will bring a number of BMW USA Classic vehicles to display at the event:

  • On the show field, BMW will display the 1975 25 BMW 3.0 CSL that received Best in Class honors at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and was part of the team that won the 24 Hours of Sebring in 1975, paired with the current No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM Tudor United Sports Car Championship race car.
  • In addition to the Mille Miglia-winning 328 Touring Coupe, BMW Group Classic will display a 1973 street version the BMW 3.0 CSL that was developed for homologation, as well as the 1980 BMW M1, the first street car developed by BMW Motorsport (also for racing homologation).
  • The then-new BMW Z3 Roadster used in the filming of the James Bond film “Goldeneye” 20 years ago will also be featured. Since BMW is a company whose legacy rides on two wheels as well as four, a BMW R69 motorcycle will also be featured.

While honoring its past, BMW resolutely looks to the future. Also on display through the weekend will be newly-updated, 2016 BMW 6 Series Convertible and all-new 2016 BMW X6 M, along with the 2015 BMW i8, the company’s award-winning plug-in hybrid sports car.

 

 

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BMW M4 DTM completes opening test of the year – First encounter with the opposition in Portimão

Portimão (PT), 4th March 2015. The crucial phase of preparations for the 2015 DTM season is underway. Two BMW M4 DTMs got their first test kilometres of the year under their belts in ideal conditions and beautiful spring weather in Portimão (PT). The two cars in action completed a total of more than 3,000 kilometres between Monday and Wednesday.
Six of the eight drivers who will compete for BMW Motorsport in the DTM in 2015 were given time at the wheel in Portimão. Over the course of the three test days, Bruno Spengler (CA), António Félix da Costa (PT), Timo Glock (DE), Tom Blomqvist (GB), Maxime Martin (BE) and Martin Tomczyk (DE) were all in action at the “Autódromo Internacional do Algarve”. This was Blomqvist’s first outing as a BMW works driver, having secured the eighth seat in BMW Motorsport’s DTM squad in February.
The engineers focussed primarily on the set-up of the BMW M4 DTM in Portugal. The test also provided an important opportunity to test improvements to those areas of the car that are not subject to the homologation. The goal for the drivers was to spend as much time as possible on track, in order to regain a feel for the car on a racetrack after the long winter break.
Portimão saw all three manufacturers in the DTM meet for the first time this year. The official ITR test is scheduled for 25th to 27th March in Estoril (PT). That is followed by the final tests in Oschersleben (DE) from 14th to 16th April. The 2015 DTM season then kicks off with the opening race in Hockenheim (DE) on 2nd May.
Quotes from the BMW DTM drivers after the test in Portimão:
Bruno Spengler: “That was a very productive test for us. We were able to complete our programme without any problems. There is obviously still some work to be done on the remaining test days, but we have definitely taken a step in the right direction. Our advantage compared to last season is that we now know the BMW M4 DTM much better, meaning we are more experienced when it comes to finding the right set-up. However, we also saw that the opposition has not been sleeping over the winter, and are in good shape.”
António Félix da Costa: “That was my first workday at the track with my new team. The guys at BMW Team Schnitzer are extremely professional and I felt at home with them from the word go. My test day went very well. I started with the set-up that Martin Tomczyk had come up with the previous day, and it worked well for me too. It is a very good sign that different drivers are happy with the same set-up of the BMW M4 DTM. Because of this, I am very confident looking ahead to the rest of the pre-season preparations.”
Timo Glock: “It was good to be back in the car and to find my rhythm after the long winter break. We had a few technical problems in the morning, but were able to work through a very good test programme in the afternoon. We found a few things that should help us move in the right direction with regard to the coming season. Our goal is to be back up there with the front-runners in 2015. This was a good start.”
Tom Blomqvist:  “That’s the first time I’ve ever driven here in Portimão. The track is very interesting and demanding – a bit like a rollercoaster. In the first few laps I was a bit lost but once I figured out where it goes I was able to run the normal programme without any problems. I also got used to the BMW M4 DTM again after a few laps. After that everything was okay. This track is definitely a very good test for my fitness.“
Maxime Martin: “It’s great to be back in the car after quite a long winter break. I enjoyed working with the BMW guys and the BMW M4 DTM again. It was a good day and I’m eager to continue preparing for the 2015 season in the weeks to come.“
Martin Tomczyk: “That was a very good test of stamina for me after the long break. Portimão is a tiring circuit with a lot of hills and bumps. You soon find out whether you are physically fit here. I really enjoyed myself, as we had a very good day of testing. We managed to test a lot of things. Over the winter, we tried to change a few things on the car, within the regulations. The first impression is that these changes seem to have paid off. However, that was only the first test. We will only find out for certain over the coming weeks.”
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BMW Motorsport News – Issue 07/15.

Whether in the DTM, the United SportsCar Championship, or countless other championships: week after week BMW teams and drivers around the world do battle for points, victories and titles. Away from the track too, members of the large BMW Motorsport family are also creating headlines. The “BMW Motorsport News” allows us to regularly summarise all the action for you in a compact and informative manner. This way, you are always up to speed.

 

GT Racing: Test programme with the BMW M6 GT3 in Monteblanco.

This week saw the BMW M6 GT3, which completed its first outing at the start of February, testing in Monteblanco (ES). With BMW works drivers Lucas Luhr (DE) and Maxime Martin (BE) at the wheel, the engineers continued the extensive development programme with the prototype of the GT racing car. In Portimão (PT) the first joint test involving all DTM manufacturers gets underway on Monday. The BMW M6 GT3 will also be on the track once again in Portugal. Dominik Baumann (AT), Jens Klingmann (DE), Jörg Müller (DE) and Luhr will take it in turns at the wheel of BMW’s new challenger in GT racing.

 

DTM: Individual car numbers for the 2015 season confirmed.

The 2015 DTM season has another new feature in store. With immediate effect, the car numbers of the drivers will no longer be based on the team they drive for and the overall standings of the previous year. Instead, each driver will compete with an individually selected number. The BMW DTM drivers have chosen the following numbers: As reigning champion, Marco Wittmann (DE) will sport the number 1 on his Ice-Watch BMW M4 DTM. In case he has to hand over the title in the future, he has chosen car number 11 as an alternative. Bruno Spengler (CA) chose number 7, which was the number he had in 2012 when he was DTM champion in the BMW Bank M3 DTM. António Félix da Costa (PT) will drive with number 13 in 2015, Timo Glock (DE) with number 16, Augusto Farfus (BR) with number 18, DTM rookie Tom Blomqvist (GB) with number 31 and Maxime Martin (BE) with number 36. Martin Tomczyk (DE) chose number 77 for his BMW M Performance Parts M4 DTM.

 

DTM: Motorsport magazine crowns DTM best touring car series in the world.

Internationally renowned motorsport magazine “Autosport” crowned the DTM the best touring car series in the world. This title is the result of an analysis of those touring car race series around the world that the magazine sees as the most important. As well as the DTM, the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the FIA European Touring Car Cup (ETCC), the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), the Australian V8 Supercars, the Argentinian Super TC2000, the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC) and the Brazilian V8 Stock Cars were evaluated according to the criteria of entertainment, competition, vehicles, prestige and diversity. The DTM achieved top marks in each of the categories of competition, vehicles and prestige, and prevailed over the other race series with the highest total number of points.

 

DTM: Glock competes against bobsledding stars at the BMW Kart Challenge.

Title sponsor BMW opened the “2015 BMW FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Championship” in Winterberg (DE) on Tuesday with an extra special action-packed event: Ahead of the competitions in the ice channel, the best bobsledders in the world took the opportunity to see how well they measured up in an entertaining event – and not just against each other, a motorsport professional was one of the competitors. There was no stopping BMW DTM driver Timo Glock (DE) from taking on world champion Francesco Friedrich (DE), junior world champion Nico Walther (DE), Olympic Games winner Steven Holcomb (US), Olympic medal winner Beat Hefti (CH), world cup overall winner Oskars Melbardis (LV) and numerous other German and international bobsledding stars. To start with he briefed them on the rules and tricks on the kart track, then came a qualifying session, followed by a race that Glock and the winter sports athletes really enjoyed. Friedrich, who walked away from Winterberg with two Gold medals under his belt, said: “I’m not the best at karting, but I enjoyed it anyway. Timo gave us some good tips, it was really interesting. When he was driving in front of me I managed to keep up for two or three corners, but when he really puts his foot down, you don’t stand a chance.”

 

Three questions for… Timo Glock.

 

Timo, how much did you enjoy the kart race against the best bobsledders in the world?

Timo Glock: “A lot. It was so much fun to finally be able to take the wheel once again after the long winter break. And if the beaming faces of the bobsledders after the race were anything to go by, they also really enjoyed this change from their competitions in the world championship. You can tell that it isn’t just in the bobsleigh that they have a great feeling for speed and precision steering, it’s a general skill. Some of them were really fast in the kart.”

 

What are the chances of seeing you on the bobsleigh run?

Glock: “Sure. I’d love to. I’d really like to try racing a bobsleigh down the ice channel. My DEUTSCHE POST BMW M4 DTM and the bob sleighs of the German national team have the same sponsor and the same distinctive yellow colour. No doubt the close cooperation between BMW and Deutsche Post means that this should be possible.”

 

How much are you looking forward to working with BMW Team MTEK and your new team-mate Bruno Spengler in the DTM this year?

Glock: “Just like all of the other DTM drivers, I’m really happy that the winter break has come to an end and I can finally get back to doing what I enjoy most: driving a race car. It was funny to see that a lot of the DTM drivers have been competing against each other online in the official DTM race simulation ‘DTM Experience’ in recent weeks. You can tell that we’re all really looking forward to getting back to business. The new set-up with Bruno as my team-mate will be very exciting. He has been one of the most consistent DTM drivers for more than a decade, won the title in 2012 and has finished in the top five of the drivers’ standings in almost every season. He will set very high standards for me, but I think the team and I will be able to benefit greatly from his experience. After all our goal in our third year of working together is to maximize our potential and get the best possible results.”