BMW to Display Two Sebring Winners at Raceway's 50th Anniversary Bash SEBRING, Fla. (March 12, 2002) -- BMW of North America, LLC, will participate in Sebring International Raceway's 50th Anniversary celebration this weekend by displaying two of...
BMW to Display Two Sebring Winners at Raceway's 50th Anniversary Bash
SEBRING, Fla. (March 12, 2002) -- BMW of North America, LLC, will participate in Sebring International Raceway's 50th Anniversary celebration this weekend by displaying two of its Sebring-winning BMWs: the 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL that won overall that year, and the 1999 race-winning BMW V12 LMR.
BMWs have won the 12 Hours of Sebring four times since 1952 at this venerable and time-honored circuit in the heart of Florida's fragrant orange groves -- twice overall and twice in the GT class.
In 1975 the BMW Motorsport entry driven by Hans Stuck, Sam Posey, Brian Redman and Allan Moffat won the first race for BMW of North America, Inc., just days after its incorporation. BMW Motorsport team manager Jochen Neerpasch's strategy that year was to use the No. 24 CSL driven by Stuck and Posey to be the rabbit for the Porsches to chase. It worked, as the Porsches broke down, leaving the second No. 25 CSL of Redman and Moffat to lead after the fourth hour and win the race. Stuck and Posey each took a driving stint in the No. 25 car later in the race.
In 1999, the BMW Motorsport-entered BMW V12 LMR, driven by JJ Lehto, Tom Kristensen and Jorg Muller posted the closest margin of victory in the race's history, as a mere 9.2 seconds separated first and second place at the end of 12 long and difficult hours! This was the car's first race and a shakedown cruise for the upcoming 24 Hours of LeMans. It produced a hard-fought battle between BMW and Audi factory teams along with private entries powered by Ferrari, Porsche, Ford and others. Three months after that 1999 debut win for the V12 LMR, the lessons learned were instrumental in BMW's winning the company's very first 24 Hours of Le Mans, solidifying its domination of prototype racing that year.
The BMW M3 brought home the brand's two other victories at Sebring, in the GT class. In 1997 Prototype Technology Group, headed by Tom Milner, and drivers Bill Auberlen, Tom Hessert, Javier Quiros and Derek Hill were first to the checkered flag. In 1998, Auberlen won again, teaming up with Boris Said.
"BMW of North America is extremely proud to be participating in Sebring's 50th Anniversary," said Larry Koch, BMW Shows and Exhibits Manager. "The CSL and the LMR are important symbols of this company's successful racing heritage in the U.S. and our Sebring victories are significant milestones in that heritage. These cars are a part of a standing collection of important BMWs that the company displays and demonstrates around the country."