Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft

German Racing Car Championship.

1977
BMW 320 Gruppe 5
Manfred Winkelhock

Jochen Neerpasch, CEO of BMW Motorsport GmbH since 1972, had a vision from the beginning: to establish a talent development program that can discover and nurture new and young racers long before the old drivers retire and leave a significant talent gap. In 1977, this vision becomes a reality as the BMW Junior Team steps into the spotlight of the motorsport world. International drivers are intentionally selected for the team. Manfred Winkelhock represents Germany, Marc Surer hails from Switzerland, and Eddie Cheever is from the United States. They all drive the newly built BMW 320 according to Group 5 regulations.

When the starting flag drops for the first time in Zolder, Cheever has already wrecked his car in practice, forcing him into the backup vehicle. A record 25,000 spectators, the most ever, have come to witness this inaugural race of the German Racing Championship, and they witness an incredible debut. Marc Surer starts from pole position and wins in sensational fashion, while Winkelhock finishes third. Everyone senses that there could soon be fierce competition because the previous winners and competitors certainly don't want to lose their dominance, especially to what has been dubbed "Neerpasch's nursery."

By the end of the 1977 season, it becomes clear that the new BMW Junior Team could have won everything with a bit less youthful exuberance. At least, Manfred Winkelhock emerges as the points leader in the small class.

BMW 320 Gruppe 5
BMW 320 Gruppe 5
BMW 320 Gruppe 5
BMW 320 Gruppe 5
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