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1978 BMW 320 Group 5

Ex-GS Tuning, Markus Höttinger car - Eligible for Le Mans Classic and CER - freshly restored

1978 BMW 320 Group 5

CHASSIS NUMBER: E21R108

For the 1976 season the FIA introduced the new Group 5 "Special Production Car" category, allowing extensive modifications to those production based vehicles homologated in FIA Groups 1 through 4. These cars would contest the World Championship for Makes from 1976 through to 1980 and then the World Endurance Championship in 1981 & 1982. Many competed at Le Mans too – including the BMW 320i in 1977. They would also compete at the front of the high-profile German Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (DRM) Championship. Visually, the regulations required only the bonnet, roof, doors and rail panel to be left unmodified - the rest of the car was virtually free, hence the monstrously wide wheel-arch extensions, and even more dramatic front and rear wings. With no mention of headlight heights, the works Porsche team soon exploited this loophole by creating the iconic 'flat nose' for the now legendary Porsche 935. It wasn’t just the cars and the cutting-edge technology that were spectacular; the drivers at the wheel of the three works BMW 320i Group 5's also created a stir on and off the race track. Known as the 'BMW Junior Team', the three up-and-coming drivers Eddie Cheever, Marc Surer and Manfred Winkelhock were a trio of red-blooded, hot-headed young talents who took on the established competition in the German DRM Championship with some flare. At the time, DRM was a showcase for the world's greatest touring car drivers and works teams, yet these BMW 'juniors' were right there taking the fight to the old-guard. The cars, drivers, sounds and indeed flames the Group 5 category created were to become the biggest attraction in German Motorsport, and a platform for many to leap into Le Mans prototypes and indeed Formula 1.

A total of 28 Group 5 BMW 320i units were built in 1977-78, with BMW Motorsport delivering the cars as kits to racing teams around the world. Incredibly lightweight, and with 320bhp, the 320is were the nimbler option to the less wieldy turbocharged DRM cars – giving them a great advantage at the tighter tracks. After great success with the works team in 1977, for 1978 BMW cleared the way for the tuning firms and private teams to win in DRM - the Junior Team now contesting the European Formula 2 Championship, dominating the European Championship with the March BMW 782 and Bruno Giacomelli.

For 1978, BMW’s motorsport manager Jochen Neerpasch signed a young and very fast Markus Höttinger for BMW's development programme. Alongside extensive testing mileage, Höttinger was assigned to the semi-works GS Tuning squad to drive one of the powerful Group 5 BMW 320s in the DRM – the very car we have for sale today. Immediately, he was one of the fastest men in Division 2, and in the third round on the daunting Nürburgring he won his first race. He would climb the highest step of the podium two more times that year, ending up second in Division 2 and joint fourth overall with 117 points, beating experienced drivers such as Armin Hahne, Hans Heyer and Harald Grohs.

The GS Tuning 320i would go on to race successfully for the 1979 DRM season with Wolfgang Braun.

Today the car is recently out of a 300,000 Euro restoration, extremely original and in race-ready condition. It has an invite to run at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting in March 2018 as part of the Group 5 high-speed demonstration, and is a great car for the DRM Revival or CER. Significantly, it is Le Mans Classic eligible, and would be a fabulous candidate for the 2018 event.

1978 Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (GS Tuning, Fruit of the Loom, Markus Höttinger)    
  Qualifying  Race
AvD/MVBL Rundstreckenrennen “Bergischer Löwe” - Zolder 6 6

ADAC Goodyear 300 km Rennen - Nürburgring Nordschleife

4 3
Int. ADAC-Eifelrennen - Nürburgring Nordschleife  2 1
Int. ADAC-Mampe-Avus-Rennen - Avus Berlin 4 3
Int. AvD/HMSC Flugplatzrennen - Mainz-Finthen 1 1
ADAC-Trophy - Zandvoort 2 3
Int. ADAC Super Sport Rennen Kassel-Calden - Kassel-Calden Airfield 3 DNF
Avd Rennsport-Trophäe um den Bilstein Pokal - Grosser Preis von Deutschland - Hockenheim Motodrom 5 2
ADAC-Westfalen-Pokal-Rennen - Zolder 5 1
ADAC Norisring Trophäe “200 Meilen von Nürnberg” - Norisring 7 DNF
Int. V. ADAC Bilstein Super Sprint - Nürburgring Betonschleife 5 DNF
     
     
1979 Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft (GS Tuning, Fruit of the Loom, Wolfgang Braun)    
  Qualifying  Race
Int. AvD Deutschland Trophaë - Jim Clark Rennen - Hockenheim 11 DNF
Int. ADAC-Eifelrennen - Nürburgring Nordschleife 12 9
ADAC-Bavaria-Rennen - Salzburgring 12 DNF
AvD/HMSC-Flugplatz-Rennen - Mainz-Finthen 14 17
ADAC-Norisring-Trophäe „200 Meilen von Nürnberg“ - Norisring 14 5
ADAC-Trophy - Zandvoort 10 DNF
ADAC-Westfalen-Pokal-Rennen - Zolder 10 5
ADAC-Hessen-Cup - Hockenheim 12 DNF

 

  • 1978-1979 – GS Tuning, Freiburg, Germany 
  • 1980-1989 – Keonig-Specials GmbH, Germany
  • 1990-2000 – Maurice Girard, Switzerland
  • 2001-2002 – Christian Tedeschi, Switzerland
  • 2003-2005 – JB Racing (Julius Rüdiger), Germany
  • 2005-2016 – Peter Ludwig, Germany
  • 2016-present – Current owner, Germany, where it was restored to current condition.

 

 

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