In 1973, the BMW 3.0 CSL made its debut and introduced the world to BMW Motorsport GmbH. Adorned with the now-classic three blue, violet, and red stripes, the 3.5 CSL won multiple titles, including the Touring Car Grand Prix at Nurburgring in its first attempt. Two years later, and a matter of days after BMW of North America was incorporated, the 3.5 CSL won the 12 Hours of Sebring, and continued its success with a victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1976. It would go on to become the most successful touring car of its day.
Additionally, this car has very significant race history in 1976, in Europe, participating in the inaugural World Championship of Makes.
This series was intensely contested by BMW, Porsche and Lancia. This car was driven throughout the series by Walkinshaw and Fitzpatrick. It secured 3rd place in the second race of the series at Vallelunga, Italy and followed that with a stunning victory over the twin turbo Porsches at Silverstone, England. A subsequent 2nd place finish at Zeltwig, Austria, was a further important contribution to BMW Motorsport's pursuit of the title. The 1976 campaign of the car ended in South Africa, where the car was driven by the brilliant Formula 1 pilot Ronnie Peterson and John Fitzpatrick.
This 3.5 CSL is one of four cars built by BMW Motorsports. It was the most highly developed version when brought to the US mid-way through the 1975 season. It was first driven by Hans Stuck and Sam Posey, later by Peter Gregg and John Morton. Extraordinary technical aspects of the engine include: mechanical fuel injection, crankshaft triggered ignition, slide throttle induction, 4 valves per cylinder and 475 horsepower at 8500RPM. Innovative aerodynamic features: front air dam, 'fences' on the front fenders, roof and rear wings (thus dubbed the 'Batmobile') dramatically increased the road holding capability. Road and Track Magazine celebrated this car with their 'Car we'd most like to race' award at the 2011 Monterey Motorsport Reunion, where 33 years earlier it was victorious and set a race lap record.
The 3.0 CSL race cars were the first cars to be developed under the new BMW subsidiary, established in 1972 - BMW Motorsport GmbH. They were the first to sport the newly designed official colors of BMW Motorsport - red, blue and purple.
Based on the 3.0 CS coupe production car, the CSL ('L') is for lightweight, referring to the aluminum doors and hood) began an assault on European touring car racing that would make it one of the most successful production racers of all time. In fact, CSL's continued to win races into the late 1970's, even though production ended in 1975 to make way for its successor, the 6 Series.
Throughout its span of development, the BMW six-cylinder engine, a 3.0-liter unit in the production car, grew from 3.2 to 3.5-liters, increasing in horsepower from 340 to 430, thanks to the development of a four-valve cylinder head.
The 3.0 CSL won six European Touring Car Championships between 1973 and 1979, as well as national championships in several other countries.
This 3.0 CSL was one of a team of three cars campaigned by BMW of North America in 1975 & 1976, enjoying considerable success, winning IMSA races at Sebring, Laguna Seca, Riverside, Daytona, Lime Rock and Talledega. Several drivers were involved in the American success of the CSL's including Hans Stuck, Sam Posey, Brian Redman, Allan Moffat, Dieter Quester, Benny Parsons, Peter Gregg and David Hobbs.