BMW 3.0 CSL
The BMW 3.0 CSL was a car introduced in 1972 as a specially homologated machine for racing in the European Touring Car Championship. This car was a member of the new BMW ‘family’ developed from the 2000 CS Coupe. The E9 platform, especially the 3.0 CSL, helped to establish BMW’s status as a sports racer’s car.
This car was based on the BMW 3.0 CS model and, interestingly, L in the designation meant light, not long, as was the case with the other BMW designations. Thinner steel was used to build the body of the car and thus made it lighter. Also, the usage of aluminium alloy doors, bonnets, and boot lids apart from Perspex side windows, made the BMW 3.0 CSL more suitable for racing.
The CSL had an inline 6 engine with a base of 200hp, similar to that of the CS model. The only difference was a slightly increased displacement which was done to allow racing in the ‘over three litre’ category. In 1973, another increase in the displacement was made. This final version of the BMW 3.0 CSL was homologated along with an aerodynamic package. However, the rear wings were not installed in the factory, but were instead left in the boot for installation as the wings were illegal for use on German roads. With a full aero-package, the BMW 3.0 CSL was given the nickname of ‘Batmobile’.
The success of the car in racing was imminentToine Hezemans won the European Touring Car Championship in 1973. In the same year, Hezemans and co-driver Dieter Quester also claimed the class victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans. They also were second at the German Touring Grand Prix at Nurburgring, finishing behind another pair of BMW 3.0 CSL drivers, Chris Amon and Hans-Joachim Stuck.
This car was so dominant over the next few years that it won the European Touring Car Championship each year from 1970 to 1975. And that wasn’t allthe BMW 3.0 CSL also competed in the IMSA GT Championship in 1975 and won races during the season.
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