The 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is celebrating the 100th anniversary of BMW, with the largest exhibit of BMW’s outside of Munich. A large well-appointed display is the centerpiece of the paddock at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In front of and along the sides is a revolving exhibit of famous racing BMWs – revolving as they are being raced in some of the fifteen classes of historic cars this four-day weekend.
Among the famous BMWs inside the display tent are two of the well-known BMW Art Cars – the first Art Car, created in 1975 by American Artist, Andrew Calder – mainly known for sculptures and mobiles; and the 17th BMW Art Car – the BMW M3 GT2 designed by Jeff Koons signed in 2010. The No.93 Calder car, a BMW 300 CSL, was one of his last art works. It was raced at the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans by American Sam Posey and Frenchmen Jean Guichet and Herve Poulain; and has been on exhibit ever since. The No.79 Koons car was raced at the 2010 24 Hours of LeMans by Andy Priaulx, Dirk Werner, and Dirk Muller.
Other display cars include the No.25 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL which won the 12 Hours of Sebring with Sam Posey, Brian Redman, Allan Moffat, and Hans Stuck; the 1938 silver Mille Miglia class-winning BMW 328 – the last pre-war 1000-mile event. Only three of these 328’s were made.After the war, this display car was taken to Russia, and returned to Munich after the fall of the Berlin Wall, where it was restored by BMW.
The weekend schedule calls for practice Thursday and Friday for all fifteen classes on the 2.238-mile elevated road course. Saturday the eight A Classes will race, and Sunday there will be seven B class races, followed by the Prize-Giving Ceremonies.
There are 55 BMWs in five of the 15 classes: 1A for Pre 1940 Sports Racing/Touring Cars & 1927-1951 Racing Cars; lots in 4A for 1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU Cars; 3B for 1963-1973 FIA Manufacturers Championship Cars; 4B for 1961-1966 GT Cars under 2500 cc; and 5B for 1981-1991 FIA Manufacturers Championship IMSA GTO/GTP Cars.
Thursday night in the paddock was the Oktoberfest Welcome Party complete with beer, costumed SCRAMP staff members, and typical German food – with an oom-pah-pah band and instant art painted by official track artist, Bill Patterson.
Among those attending and taking photos of the cars and drivers was world-famous driver, Brian Redman. The affable Brit took one of his old race cars out for a spin Friday morning – No.25 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL – one of five imported into the US. Redman ran the 1975-1976 IMSA Camel GT Series with Ronnie Peterson. It was one of the most successful BMW production race cars, and all those five race cars still exist. The car is entered by BMW North America and driven by Ludwig Willisch of New Jersey.
Saturday’s schedule calls for Qualifying Races in the morning and Rolex Races in the afternoon – for all eight of the A Groups.