1 April 2021
Helmut Käs (54) will take over as new Head of BMW Group Classic on 1 May 2021. He succeeds Ulrich Knieps, who has now bid farewell and departed into retirement after eight years at the helm of BMW Group Classic. Helmut Käs has been working at the BMW Group since 1990 and currently heads BMW Welt. He also has a proven track record in sales, having gathered expertise as Head of the BMW AG subsidiary in Fröttmaning and Head of MINI Munich. Käs also benefits from an extensive network within the Group. His wide-ranging experience is complemented by a passion for classic automobiles. Helmut Käs also expresses this in his private life when he takes the wheel of a classic Mini Cooper Mayfair from 1994.
This episode of the series “Inside BMW Group Classic” presents a truly rarefied gem packed with racing genes: the BMW M3 GTR powered by a V8 engine – thoroughbred sporting prowess in every carbon fibre. BMW M GmbH put a small series of the BMW M3 GTR on wheels in short order as a homologation model for GT motor sport. The engineering for the roadgoing version of the vehicle developed on the basis of the third-generation BMW M3 remained as close as possible to the motor-sport version. The 4.0 litre V8 with a cylinder-bank angle of 90 degrees largely matched the power unit of the racing version, which packed more than 450 hp. In spite of strict parameters for noise abatement and exhaust emissions, the V8 in the version for the civilian market still generated more than 350 hp. Like the race-circuit version, the roof, front and rear aprons, air intakes and the mighty wings were all made of reinforced carbon-fibre plastic to reduce weight. This was the only way to achieve the impressive kerb weight of 1 350 kg.
Many motor-sport fans will undoubtedly be pressing their noses against the plate-glass frontage of Motorworld Region Stuttgart in Böblingen. A special show currently featured in the listed premises is dedicated to the BMW 3.0 CSL, which initially created a sensation on the road 50 years ago and soon after won plaudits on racing tracks throughout the world. A weight reduction of 200 kilograms was achieved with bodywork components made of aluminium and other slimming measures, transforming the BMW Coupé from the Big Car Class into a lightweight racer. The BMW 3.0 CSL became the most successful touring car of its era. Between 1973 and 1979, the car chalked up six European Championship titles on its slate. The special show features the overall winner of the European Touring Car Championship from 1976, the BMW 3.0 CSL from the Luigi Team. The highlight of the exhibition comes from the historic vehicle collection of BMW Group Classic. This is a BMW 3.0 CSL in the legendary stripe design of BMW Motorsport GmbH. A total of eight versions of the lightweight coupé are presented at Motorworld in Böblingen: from the roadgoing version delivering 200 hp to the beefy 450 hp racing version. They are joined by the precursor built on the basis of the luxury coupé BMW 2800, already successful on race tracks in 1971 and packing a punch of around 300 hp. And because the view through the glass frontage of the showroom is not sufficient, tours are also being planned – which will naturally be carried out in accordance with the current guidelines of the State of Baden-Württemberg to protect against infection.
The BMW Group with its brands BMW, BMW Motorrad, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is brim full of exciting stories. BMW Group Classic regularly presents stories about enthusiastic collectors and club members in the YouTube film series entitled “Our Brands. Our Stories.” They focus on classic fans from all over the world united by a shared passion for historic automobiles and motorcycles. Their stories entertainingly highlight the diversity of ways in which an enthusiasm for classic automobiles and motorcycles can be expressed. BMW Group Classic is now on the look-out for stories to feature in the new series “Our Brands. Our Stories.” They could be from Melbourne or Los Angeles, Reykjavík or Johannesburg – any interested classic fans out there can send in their videos or photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Taking part might be well worth it: If you’re on a winning streak, your story might be an episode in the new “Our Brands. Our Stories.”.
In 1998, leading artists were asked to give the classic Mini a unique, individual design in preparation for the 40th anniversary of the revolutionary runabout. In the same year, the results were already presented to an admiring public at the British International Motor Show. Fashion designer Paul Smith designed a classic Mini in a stripey look, Jay Kay from the Funk group Jamiroquai styled the Jamiromini. Other custom cars came from David Bowie, Kate Moss, Natasha Caine and designer Mark Ward. Ward hit on the idea of transferring the central theme from the 1960’s film “The Time Machine” to the bodywork of the classic Mini. The movie was based on the eponymous novel by H. G. Wells. The design by Mark Ward expressed his conviction that the classic Mini was already “timeless” when it came into the world.