Welcome to the IMSA History unofficial website

This site is aimed at bringing you memories from the glory days of sportscar racing in the US.



Constructor Bayerische Motoren Werke
Chassis steel monocoque, aluminium bonnet, boot and doors.
Body Lightweight aluminium composite, stretched tails and extended wings.
Suspension McPherson struts, Bilstein gas-pressurised shock absorbers, anti-roll bar, semi trailing arms, coil springs, Bilstein gas pressurised telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar.
Gearbox 5 speed Manual .
Wheelbase : 2625mm
Front track 1470mm
Rear track 1426mm
Engine S6 3,5L Front, longitudinally mounted, cast-iron block, alloy head, Bosch Fuel Injection .

Among all the BMWs using the Coupe Sport Leicht (CSL) name, none is as outrageous as the 1975 IMSA contender featured here. With superwide fenders and a dazzling paint scheme, it can be ranked among the most visually exciting racecars ever made. Only four CSLs were campagned by BMW North America to compete in the IMSA series. They wanted to reestablish the BMW name in American motor sports and they made a safe bet by using a design that had already proven itself in Europe.

The CSL was originally conceived to help BMW and companies like Alpina and Schnitzer win the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC). It was the first product of BMW Motorsport GmbH, a subsidiary of BMW dedicated to motor sports development that is now more famously known as the M division. To prepare the 3.0 CS for ETCC, Jochen Neerpasch and the rest of BMW M stripped out the cars and added a drastic aerodynamic kit that gave the car its Batmobile nickname. In its first year out, the CSL won the 1973 ETCC and BMW was then motivated to go further with their program.

Over the winter, an all new engine known as the M49 was developed with a DOHC setup and 24 valves for the 1974 season. It was increased to 3.5 litres and modified into the M49/2 for Lemans. BMW North America jumped on the opportunity presented with the new engine to help compete against the Porsches racing in IMSA GTO class. Like many of the IMSA GTO contenders, BMW North America didn't hold back when reconsidering the aerodynamics of the CSL. A huge bodykit was fitted that included much wider fender flares and a deeper front valence.

BMW raced several cars in 1975 with remarkable success, but lost the Camel GT Challenge trophy by a few points to the Brumos Racing Porsche RSR. This helped establish the team as competitive and the CSL was improved even more for the following season. Drivers Peter Gregg and Brain Redman won the 1976 24 Hours of Daytona, taking BMW's first major victory on American soil. This included opposition such as John Greenwood's Corvette and a large Porsche contingent. Past 1975, the FIA introduced the fourth generation Group 5 rules which allowed for much more development than Group 4 or IMSA. Many of the defunct 3.0 and 3.2 liter cars from the ETCC were converted and raced up until 1979. Some of these Group 5 cars are distinguished with a much longer rear wing and a more protruding front spoiler as raced at Le Mans. Furthermore they were fitted with an upright 3.5-liter 24 valve M49 engine compared to the Group 4 IMSA Spec with 30° angle engine.

Only two of the four cars retain their IMSA GTO bodywork, the first belonging to BMW which is regularly shown and raced. Serial number 986 is owned by Kemper Miller who bought it directly from Peter Gregg at the end of the 1976 season. It still retains the same #59 as it did when it won the Daytona 24 in 1976.

 Chassis list