1983 BMW 635 CSi Group A
1983 BMW 635 CSi Group A
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The 1970s witnessed all-out domination by BMW in the all-important European Touring Car Championship (ETCC); its 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” secured six Drivers’ and six Manufacturers’ titles in just seven years. However, the transition to Group A regulations in 1982 prompted a switch to the company’s new 3.5-litre 635 CSi model, the homologation of which led tuning specialists Alpina and Schnitzer Motorsport to jointly produce approximately 50 competition chassis between 1983 and 1985.
Constructed across two distinct series, chassis E24-RA1-30 was a “late” first-series car initially delivered to Austrian gentleman driver, Karl Oppitzhauser, ahead of the 1984 ETCC season. Having previously raced and hill climbed such unlikely cars as a Lamborghini Miura and a Ferrari Dino 246 GTS—and attempted to qualify a privately-entered March 761 for the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix—Oppitzhauser’s motor racing resumé was certainly nothing if not varied. However, by the late 1970s, he had gained a reputation as a capable Touring Car driver, most notably in the potent Group 5 BMW 320 Turbo with which he competed between 1979 and 1983.
Duly prepared by its owner’s eponymous team—and carrying sponsorship from German DIY store chain Bauhaus—E24-RA1-30 made its race debut in the 1984 500 km Monza, in which Oppitzhauser and co-driver Mario Zanuso finished 22nd overall. The car contested a further 10 ETCC rounds over the next three seasons, with Oppitzhauser principally sharing driving duties with fellow Austrian amateur, Georg Pacher. Pitted against works opposition from the likes of the TWR-Jaguar, TWR-Rover, and Eggenberger Volvo teams, their efforts were laudable; 8th place overall in the 1985 500 km Monza and 11th in the same year’s 500 km Salzburgring proving particular highlights.
Significantly, former Hesketh Formula 1 driver Divina Galica shared E24-RA1-30 in the 1985 500 km Österreichring—although her race ended in retirement—while in mid-1986 the car was leased or sold to the Bavaria Automobiles team, which duly entered it in that year’s Spa 24 Hours. Driven by former Ligier Formula 1 pilot Francois Hesnault among others, the car failed to qualify for the event, marking the conclusion of its contemporary racing career.
Acquired by the respected German race preparation specialist Brunn Racing in 2014, the car subsequently underwent a complete rebuild—albeit with great attention being paid to retaining all major components and the car’s remarkable patina—prior to entering the current ownership in 2017. It later underwent a full engine rebuild at Provence-based race preparation specialist Zig-Zag Motorsport Services in 2019 and is not recorded to have been driven since, with accompanying invoices totalling more than €30,000. Accompanied by four sets of spare wheels and FIA papers issued to the consigning owner, this car could be a highly competitive proposition for the Peter Auto Heritage Touring Cup and Motor Racing Legends Historic Touring Car Challenge, for which it is eligible and ideally suited.