13 January 2020
The idea was daring but successful. Two days of ice racing for classic cars and exotics of all types. BMW Group Classic is at the second edition of the “GP Ice Race” on 1 and 2 February 2020 in Zell am See, Austria, for the first time. The weekend continues a long tradition that was interrupted for 45 years – at one time, races were held on the frozen lake while today, the “Stars on Ice” race their laps on a natural ice rink next to it. BMW Group Classic takes three high flyers onto the ice: a first-generation BMW M3 in the rally version with DTM driver Philipp Eng from the German Touring Car Masters at the wheel, the victorious MINI ALL4 Racing in the Dakar Rally 2012 driven by Christian Menzel, and the replica of the Mini Cooper S in the rally version, which last blazed a trail in the Coppa Delle Alpi.
Camillo Castiglioni was a figure where the moniker “colourful” would be an understatement. The Austrian with Italian roots played a key role in the early years of BMW as a major shareholder but in 1929 he was obliged to withdraw from the company owing to certain irregularities. The Bavarian and Austrian TV companies Bayerischer Rundfunk and Österreichischer Rundfunk have produced a riveting documentary about the financial juggler, bon vivant and aviation pioneer, which is being screened on Bayerischer Rundfunk TV at 22:30 on 14 January 2020. The production was supported by the BMW Group Classic with historic photographs and archive material. A number of scenes were filmed in the BMW Museum and in front of the historic gatehouse of BMW Group Classic.
The idea was fantastic and it was truly groundbreaking. Naturally, the young BMW engineer Martin Stolle had absolutely no inkling of how far it would go back in 1920. That was when he designed the first BMW Boxer engine, a two-cylinder power unit with horizontally opposed pistons which in this type of engine arrangement operate one against the other similar to two fighters in a boxing contest moving back and forth. 60 years later an engine like this powered another innovation from Munich – the BMW R 80 G/S established a completely new, exciting and successful motorcycle genre in the form of a “Touring Enduro”. The machine was constructed for off-road and on-road (“GS – Gelände and Straße) and Hubert Auriol straightaway rode the motorcycle to victory in the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1981. The concept was revolutionary but it remained true to its heritage in one particular point: the typical and familiar sound of the BMW Boxer engine.
Stories about this automobile inevitably tend towards an elegiac serenade – such beauty, yet also a touch of wistful regret because only a few hundred of these gems could be built and sold. As early as 1930, BMW had presented a two-seater sports car based on the “Type Wartburg”, but the BMW 315/1 in 1934 was the marque’s first independent roadster. And even sober, clear-headed human beings aspire to poetic heights when they come to describe this eyecatcher. The lines are timelessly elegant, the advanced engineering for the era reaped prizes in many contests. Even though the BMW 315/1 failed as a commercial success – the successors it inspired more than made up for this.