The young guns readied for action by team boss Jochen Neerpasch certainly hit the ground running. Writing the most headlines alongside the BMW 2002 rally machine were the big E9-series BMW 3.0 CSL Coupés. With their jazzy striped livery, these cars became icons of their time, gazing out from posters in countless kids’ bedrooms and grown-ups’ workshops. The CSL’s maiden victory in the European Touring Car Championship came in 1973, its first season in the series, and another five were to follow. Up to 750 turbocharged horsepower powered the BMW coupé to the title of most successful touring car of its era. It was a similar story in the USA, where in the space of a year the relatively unknown brand’s racing exploits suddenly had its name up in lights – or at least ”Bavarian Motor Works” emblazoned across its car’s windscreens.
As if that weren’t enough, BMW Motorsport GmbH also supplied over 500 engines to Formula 2. And in 1977 BMW Driver Training was added to its portfolio, starring the BMW 320i as the car of choice and drift king Rauno Aaltonen as an instructor.