The ‘Batmobiles’ debut came at the 1973 Six Hours of the Nurburgring in a corporate war between the be-winged BMW 3.0 CSLs and Ford’s Capri. Ford brought Grand Prix stars Jackie Stewart and Emerson Fittipaldi, plus the Amelia’s 2014 honoree Jochen Mass. They led the blue-oval’s fight against BMW’s F1 stars Chris Amon, Hans Stuck and future World Formula 1 Champion Niki Lauda. The BMWs won the most important race on the European Championship calendar that weekend and the ‘Batmobile’ legend was born.
The Amelia Island Concours class-winning 3.0 CSL was one of a group of five chassis campaigned by BMW of North America in the 1975 and 1976 IMSA Camel GT Series in Group 4 specifications. Campaigned under the racing numbers #24 and #25, the CSL enjoyed considerable success winning at Sebring, Riverside, Laguna Seca, Daytona and Talladega in 1975. Several iconic drivers were involved in the American success of the CSLs, including Brian Redman, Hans Stuck, Sam Posey, Ronnie Peterson, Dieter Quester, Benny Parsons, Peter Gregg and David Hobbs. This car, sporting race number 25, is part of the BMW of North America Classic collection and is configured as it raced and won at the 1975 running of the 12 Hours of Sebring with drivers Brian Redman, Hans Stuck, Sam Posey and Alan Moffat.
The BMW 3.0 CSL race car that took runner-up honors was built in 1972 to compete in FIA Group 2. This particular car brought the 1973 European Sedan Championship to Dieter Quester and Toine Hezemans and is owned and vintage raced by BMW collectors Scott and Fran Hughes of Sunset, South Carolina.
The BMW 3.0 CSL class also included the car that won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1976 driven by Brian Redman, Peter Gregg and John Fitzpatrick.
A limited number of BMW 3.0 CSL models were produced and sold for street use in order to homologate the car for racing. The road-going BMW 3.0 CSLs featured in the class at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance included a car entered by Indy 500 winner and BMW Team RLL team principal, Bobby Rahal.