1972 BMW E9 '3.5 CSL Batmobile Replica' Coupe
Result: PASSED IN
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 3500cc|
|Colour||White with blue/red stripes|
Although privateers and tuners like Alpina had enjoyed success in Group 2 racing with the 2800CS, BMW’s legendary CSL homologated the elegant E9 coupe series for serious motorsport, qualifying the model for the European Touring Car Championship. Equipped with lightweight panels and an engine bored out to 3003cc to allow the car to compete in the over 3-litre category, BMW’s works team competed in the 1973 ETCC, Formula One stars like Niki Lauda, Chris Amon, James Hunt and Jacky Ickx battling it out with arch rival Ford. The season was well underway when the famous ‘Batmobile’ wing kit appeared, resulting in a dominant performance on debut at the Nurburgring Six Hours. Slashing an impressive 14 seconds off the lap time, the winged wonders finished one-two-three, effectively ending Ford’s chances of taking the title that season and the sight of Hans Stuck airborne at the Nurburgring’s famous Flugplatz is indelibly etched in the memory of every motor sport fan. BMW went on to claim no less than six European championship titles during the 1970s, along with class wins at Le Mans and - further developed to Group 5 specification - the CSL even scored outright victories against the all-conquering Porsche 935 in the 1976 World Championship of Makes. After the works team officially withdrew from racing in Europe, Motorsport boss Jochen Neerpasch made the decision to enter the American arena, sending four modified CSL racers across the Atlantic to compete in the 1975 IMSA Camel GT Championship. Further lightened and wearing even wilder flares, as permitted by IMSA’s more liberal rules, the Batmobiles acquitted themselves well in the hands of drivers Sam Posey, Brian Redman and Ronnie Petersen who joined CSL stalwart Hans Stuck, even winning the non-championship season opener at Daytona in 1976. BMW’s famous series of Art Cars kicked off with the CSL, artist Alexander Calder commissioned by French driver Herve Poulain to paint his car for Le Mans in 1975 and Frank Stella doing likewise the following year.