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2018-06-29 11:20

Image: BMW Group

On July 1, the pageant of historic racing cars and celebrity drivers will once again unfold at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria for the 2018 Legends Parade.

Reliving the classics

Ahead of the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, eleven touring-car classics from the 1970s and 1980s will re-live the glory days of the German Racing Championship (DRM – "Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft") at the Red Bull Ring.

BMW Group Classic is represented by two exceptional vehicles from its collection at this year’s Legends Parade. A mid-engine M1 sports car from 40 years ago will be presented alongside a BMW 3.0 CSL, which gained sporting fame and fortune as the successful touring car that established the brand’s big coupé series launched 50 years ago.

The "Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft" was held from 1972 to 1985. It quickly developed into Europe’s most important and popular touring-car series. Numerous works teams and private racing stables provided some spectacular competitions for many years.

The golden age of classics

Although the vehicles competing in the races were derived from series models, they were strategically tuned for high performance with comprehensive and advanced modifications.

The race series was also closely associated with the names of legendary racing drivers such as Rolf Stommelen, Klaus Ludwig, Harald Ertl, Bob Wollek, Jochen Mass, Manfred Winkelhock, Markus Höttinger and Hans-Joachim Stuck. For Stuck, the years of the German Racing Championship were “quite simply a fantastic period".

In the initial years, touring cars competed in accordance with Group 2 regulations, including the BMW 3.0 CSL, which had been specifically designed for motor sport.

The designation of the two-door coupé was a reference to "Coupé, Sport, Lightweight". The coupé was the top model of BMW’s great coupé series launched in 1968 and it was an exceptionally successful touring car.

                                                                         Image: Net Car Show

A total of six titles were won in the European Touring Car Championship with the BMW 3.0 CSL, the first being in the debut year 1973. The European Champion at the time was the Dutch racing driver Toine Hezemans and this year he will be part of the Legends Parade in Spielberg, once again behind the steering wheel of the BMW 3.0 CSL.

From 1977, Group 5 vehicles were also represented in the DRM. Four years later, this paved the way for the BMW M1 to compete in the popular national race series. Impressive spoilers and engine outputs of up to 1000 hp made this touring car one of the most spectacular phenomena at the German Racing Championship.

                                                                        Image: BMW Group

Prior to this, the mid-engine sports car presented in 1978 had generated a sensation in the Procar Series created especially for this car.

The Procar races were held in the warm-up programme before the European Formula 1 races in the years 1979 and 1980, with Formula 1 racing drivers of that era competing against national sports-car professionals and junior racing drivers.

The BMW M1 from the collection of BMW Group Classic will join the ranks of the Legends Parade in Spielberg. Formula 1 driver Christian Danner will be behind the steering wheel.

                                                                           Image: BMW Group

During the course of his career, Danner also enjoyed success in touring-car motor racing and furthermore was one of the drivers who had already become familiar with the BMW M1 in the Procar Series.

The array of erstwhile race cars from the German Racing championship also includes three additional BMW motor cars from private ownership, including a BMW 3.6 CSL Alpina. Three-times Formula 1 Champion Niki Lauda from Austria will line up at the start behind the wheel of this automobile.

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