Woodcliff Lake, NJ - January 31, 2005... This year BMW of North America, LLC will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its North American motorsports programs and the year-long celebration will begin at the 43rd Rolex 24 at Daytona.
At Daytona, in 1975, two BMW CSLs with "BAVARIAN MOTOR WORKS" emblazoned on the top of the windshields started BMW of North America racing programs toward three decades of victories in both GT and Prototype categories. Although BMW's first race in the U.S. would end some nine-and-one-half hours later, both CSLs would retire while leading, sending notice that BMW would be a force to be reckoned with.
One month later, at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Hans Stuck, Brian Redman, Sam Posey and Allan Moffat would steer a CSL to its first major road racing victory in North America.
In 1976, a CSL, now with "BMW OF NORTH AMERICA" on the top of the windshield, driven by Peter Gregg, Brian Redman and John Fitzpatrick would deliver a win at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
The CSL program would give way to the 320 Turbos of the late 1970s. David Hobbs drove his McLaren-prepared "Flying Brick" to eight Camel GT victories between 1977 and 1979.
In 1985 BMW of North America stepped boldly into the IMSA Prototype category with two BMW GTPs powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder version of the engine that propelled Nelson Piquet's BMW-powered Brabham BT-52 to the Formula One world championship in 1983. A young John Andretti and Davy Jones gave the two-year program its only win at Watkins Glen. David Hobbs and John Watson also drove for the program.
Since 1995, BMW of North America has focused its motorsport efforts with one team, Prototype Technology Group, and one model, the BMW M3. The BMW Team PTG M3s, in both endurance and sprint racing, have delivered 46 wins and, more importantly, 14 championships to BMW of North America. Most recently, in 2004, BMW Team PTG swept the Rolex Sports Car Series GT class Manufacturer, Driver and Team titles, winning 10 of 12 races.
At the Rolex 24 at Daytona, BMW Team PTG won the GTS-3 class in 1997 and the GT3 class in 1998, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in both those years as well.
Four major racing programs, and contingency support for the many private teams that race BMWs, have provided BMW with wins at most every road racing circuit in North America. As the fourth decade of competition for BMW of North America begins, BMW is stronger than ever - proven in competition.
Jeff Seabrook has been with us since Sunday, February 15, 2004.