Leave the champagne – this year at Villa d’Este we have Jägermeister shots!

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jägermeister Racing and BMW M, the brutal BMW 320 Group 5 is bound to kick up the party at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este this weekend. We caught a rude bruise after dark.

The most important part of the FIA’s mission is to make the race more attractive to spectators, while at the same time making it safer for drivers. This is why Group-5 racing has gone through different stages of development. From the 7-liter monsters deemed too fast for Le Mans Hunaudières straight race, to cars with engines up to five liters, and later three liters, which had to be manufactured in at least fifty or twenty-five units a year later 1968, to “Special Production Cars,” the fourth generation of 1976 Group-5 racers, of which the Jägermeister BMW is certainly the most obvious example.

Group 5 is also the class that gave birth to such legendary racing cars as the apple of an eye to Ferdinand Piech’s 917. The 917 gave Porsche its first overall win at Le Mans, and was made famous not only by its drivers, but also by the “King of Cool”, Steve McQueen, His film praises the great race.

The rules of this series were constantly evolving, but this absurdity was understandable. At the time, the Manufacturers’ World Championship was the second most important racing series in Europe, right after Formula 1. The FIA ​​needed technological excellence and cars that mirrored those people could actually buy to continue the exciting race.

So, 1976 saw the birth of a new class: special production cars of the fifth group, which will be held in one of two classes: engines up to two liters, and engines over two liters. BMW only had the first car.

The FIA ​​restricted the width of the car, so these racers were built with standard bodies, to which extra-wide wheel arch extensions were added. Regulations require that only the hood, roof, doors and rail panel be left unmodified. In essence, they had the same basic look as touring cars or GT cars, but their stunning looks revealed that the engineering under the hood was of the highest quality.

The choice of BMW to compete in the 2-liter class meant that a car based on the new e21320 had to be developed. These cars, driven by names like Surer, Cheever, Winkelhock and then Stuck, Peterson and Grohs, quickly became a fixture in the DRM (German Racing Championship) and, from 1977 onwards, the World Manufacturers Championship.

In all, an estimated 36 plants were built into the Group V specification. In 1978 alone, BMW provided components (and complete kits) for more than 30 cars. They all weighed about 730 kg and had the same 2-liter engine that was used in the Formula 2 race cars. M12/7: a four-valve unit that produces about 330 hp and runs up to a redline of 10,000 rpm.

When turbocharging was introduced, the power rose to 500 hp. We must mention – as evidence of the excellent capabilities of the engine – that the same unit later powered BMW Formula 1 racing cars and produced more than 1,000 HP!

The car in this year’s European Cup, and the best BMW Trofeo at Villa d’Este, is the 1978 car and the 29th example built overall, with body number E21 R1-29. It was completed for the 1978 season by Team GS Freiburg – run by Gerhard Schneider – using BMW Works Parts, and was driven by Markus Höttinger. Always in his iconic Jägermeister costume. In 1979, it was purchased by Mast-Jägermeister, and continued to be sponsored by GS and later by Wolber Motorsport.

Led by Eckhard Schimpf, who brought the car to Concorso this year, it took part in about 80 races in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982. With Schimpf and BMW’s works driver, Hans-Georg Burger, it won the world championship of the 2-liter class in the 1000 km race at the Nürburgring It ranked sixth in the overall standings. With the trio of Schimpf, Fischhaber and Ketterer, he also finished the 1000 km race in 10th place in 1980, and 4th place in 1982 (second place in Group 5).

Her many victories can be traced back to successful outings at the European Hill Climbing Championships. Some examples include Trento Bondoni in Italy (1980 and 1982), Austrian Alpine Climbing Prize (1980), Turkheim-Trois Ibis in France (1980 and 1981), Ambos Dragoinan, France (1982), Freiburg Schauinsland, Germany (1982), Swiss Hill-climb prize at Les Rangiers (1981 and 1982), Bozen-Mendola in Italy (1981), and Copa Sila (1982). The last time I raced in a DRM was in 1980, at the conclusion of the series at Hockenheim, where she finished sixth.

It is also one of three BMW 320 Series 5 cars to have ever raced in Jägermeister uniforms in the DRM and World Manufacturers Championship. In the 1977 season two more cars were operated by the Waltz team from Essen. The drivers are: Hans Joachim Stock, Harald Gross, Helmut Kleiners and Ronnie Peterson.

It was later restored to concours conditions, and is now mostly found in the company’s collection, called the “72 Stagpower”. Taken from time to time for demonstration runs or as an avatar that connects epic driving to the unforgettable nightlife of the @rennmeister72 instagram project, introducing these iconic cars to a new generation of enthusiasts, the car instantly grabs the attention of anyone who comes in contact with it. We all know orange cars go faster. We’re keeping our fingers crossed so that person can also win the concours category with their rough and savage look.

Photos: Blazej Zulawski for Rennmeister

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