In Museum Lany is a new jewel in exposition,
Museum Lany: There is a new jewel in exposition, famous Vojtech's and Enge's BMW 635 CSi Hartge
Museum of sporting cars in Lany near Prague extended its attractive collection of exhibits - there is a car which can be marked as a new jewel of large compilation. It's BMW 635 CSi Hartge with which legendary Czech racers Zdenek Vojtech and Bretislav Enge shined on European circiuts in 1983. White-blue car with extraordinarily fast drivers was 25 years ago the scare for factory teams with F1 racers and with other racing aces.
In 1983 these two riders from Liberec took twice part in victory ceremony in ME of travelling cars. Just the lack of experience and the lack of fat budget caused that the pair didn't achieve yet higher. Anyhow, their performance by steering wheel of Bavarian car in group A started careers of both pilots for next years.
Between 1983/84 Tom Walkinshaw with his team Jaguar TWR and the chieves of factory stall BMW tried to get Zdenek Vojtech. Bretislav Enge stayed between the fastest pilots of privat cars BMW and in 1986 he became an official pilot of Bavarian mark in Linder team. He changed for an actual F1 racer of those days Christian Danner.
"I'd like to drive. Is it possible to get started it?" these were the first words of Tomas Enge after seeing Bavarian car pearl in Museum Lány (www.classic.lany.cz). After coming of his father Bretislav and Stepan Vojtech, son of Zdenek, a vari-coloured narration started. It was full of memories of "father Enge" and full of both racers-continuators remarks. Their speech glossed the author of workable replication Lubos Matousek, long-standing engineer of Charouz Racing System (www.racing.charouz.cz), and then also Vaclav Bervid, former team manager.
"We were exotics, but hellish fast exotics from Czechoslovakia," commemorates Bervid. "Till 1981had "Zdenda" and Bretislav and other pilots driven in Europe with legendary Skoda 130 RS, but to have the strongest division BMW it was somtehing unimaginable. All the stars including F1 racers turned aside from us only till they saw times of our boys." Czech BMW that time successfully fought with racers as Hans-Joachim Stuck, Tom Walkinshaw, Manfred Winkelhock, Johnny Cecotto, Dieter Quester, Helmut Kelleners, Hans Heyer or Jonathan Palmer.
While reputable stalls mostly with factory participation as Schnitzer, Jaguar and Austin Rover TWR, Juma, Eggenberger were professional teams with perfect foul territory and budget, Czechs had different conditions: their remaked bus Karosa was good for transporting racing car but also served as kitchen and sleeping-room. "We had no money for preventive exchange of important parts. It was a big problem," tells Bervid. "And what more - we never exactly knew if Svazarm let us go for next races."
Hard work by steering wheel
"My memory is not in very good condition but this car is unforgettable," said Bretislav Enge in Museum Lany. Except the annals full of photos he brough also his overall from those days and his most valuable trophy - 2nd place cup from Mugello, Italy. Then he gave these two relics of Czech motosport to the museum. "Driving was very hard, especially in 24hours Spa marathon. BMW Motorsport didn't recommend using of steering booster. There could come to demaging of motor," says Enge senior. "When I nearly couldn't drive, I only turned the steering wheel and rode with accelerator by fluent skidding."
Both Stepan Vojtech and Tomas Enge were 6 years old in 1983. From spring till autumn their fathers crossed Europe, only once a year, in June in Brno, sons and fathers could be near each other. But that year Václav Bervid's stall rode extraordinarilly also at Havirov-Senov distance. "I don't remember anything from Brno, but I know very well that in Havirov it wasn't possible to get to dad because of the crowd," tells Stepan.
"And I also remember some trying ride on airport. Me and my brother Tomas, we were behind in car with one another Tom - little Tomas Enge. We were holding the protective frame and looking at father how he was good in working with the steering wheel," notes Stepan. He is smiling by that memory, as well as his friend Tomas Enge which adds: "It was a big racing those days and our fathers were many times faster than all the stars. I would like to experience that era too."
Engine arose in a place for baby-coaches
Car in Lany museum is similar as the original one. Lubos Matousek worked at it nearly 2 years. "I have picked extremely many materials. And also photos, technical data, original homologation FIA etc," says Prague technician. He finishes it in a year when it is 25 years since that famous year and what more - this year it is 10 years since Zdenek's tragical death. "I hope Zdenek would also like the car," adds Matousek.
If there didn't happen a fatal crash with a tram home in Liberec in November 1998, Zdenek Vojt?ch would certainly tell us how was racing with BMW 635 CSi Hartge. He and Bretislav Enge they were both very fast but whereas "Slavek" was a reliable man in nook, "Zdenda" was the opposite - showman being seen everywhere.
"In fact it was like a dream," told the owner of three Golden steering wheels about year 1983. "All the Stucks, Questers, Winkelhocks didn't believe what's happening - any Czechoslovakians who cruised with a bus were faster than they're. Year before I had won with Austrian Jo Gartner ME race in Zeltweg, Slavek couldn't have started because of burns from Brno. It's the best outcome in history but 1983 was much more important for us."
There is one nearly unbelievable story from those days about the exclusive turner of Bavarian motor for crew from Liberec. Team started co-operation with German tuning company Hartge, but motor was in care of Ivan Smisek. He was known as very careful and very clever in sqeezing the best from the unit. His "kit" gave 308 horses versus 285 horses of factory motor Schnitzer. "And we did our motors in our panel house, in a place for baby- coaches! Ivan and I, we both lived in Krc, part of Prague," adds Vaclav Bervid.
Symbolical full stop after the period of blue-white car did at the end of 1983 Hans-Joachim Stuck, German F1expilot, the winner of 24h Le Mans and of many others big battles. He said in his interview for German professional magazine Auto, Motor und Sport that Czechs BMW 635 CSi Hartge with excellent crew was the best car in sporting cars at ME. "It was a big honour for us," added Vaclav Bervid.
When to Lány Museum
The car worthy of attention as well as tens other exhibits including the original Tomas Enge´s Dallara Chevrolet from Indy Racing League 2005, replications of Prost's and Jordan's F1 monopost or specials Lancia Stratos or Audi Quattro are for seeing in Museum of sporting cars in Lány from October till March every Wednesday and Saturday since 10:00 to 16:00 and from April till September every day from 10:00 to 17:00 (more at www.classic.lany.cz).
Success of BMW 635 CSi Hartge with drivers Zdenek Vojtech-Bretislav Enge
2. place Mugello
3. place Silverstone
4. place Donington
2. place Havirov-Senov, International race (Z. Vojtech)
Best starting positon of season 1983
2. Perguse and Salzburgring
Links: www.touringcarracing.net a www.racingsportscars.com
BMW 635 CSi Hartge
- Schrick BMW, 6 in line
- size 3475 ccm
- cams 1xOHC
- 2 valves per cilinder
- power 308 HP
- Getrag 5 speed, H pattern
- 1185 kg
Links: www.touringcarracing.net, www.racingsportscars.com, www.vojtech.org a www.hartge.de
-credit: Martin Straka