On September 12 at 1:00 p.m. EDT, Hagerty will present a webinar focused on what it was like to race the BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” coupes back in the 1970s. Hosted by Justin Bell, this event will feature Sam Posey, Brian Redman, and Hans Stuck, three top-flight drivers who raced these cars in 1975 and 1976. In order to watch, please register here.
Based on the 3.0 CS, the “L” was added to indicate the car was leicht—the German word for “light” (meaning the opposite of “heavy,” not the opposite of “dark”). To achieve its lower weight, the car’s unibody used thinner-gauge steel; the exterior trim and soundproofing were deleted; and aluminum-alloy doors, hoods, and trunk lids were used, along with plastic side windows. Under the hood was a 3.0-liter inline-six; later, a 3.2-liter was used. The wild aerodynamic aids—including a giant lower air dam, huge air scoops on the front and rear fenders, a spoiler at the trailing edge of the roof, and a hulking rear wing—earned the car its nickname of “the Batmobile.”
The CSL competed in the European Touring Car Championship’s Group 2, with drivers of the CSL winning the Drivers title six times: in 1973, and then every year from 1975 to 1979. The CSL also competed in Group 5 Special Production form, winning three rounds of the 1976 World Championship for Makes. In FIA Group 4 spec, driven by Hans Stuck, CSLs competed against racing versions of the Porsche 911 and Ford Capri with some success.
The production version of the 3.0 CSL was introduced in 1972 in order to homologate the car for racing in the ETC. The production version used a 3003-cc inline-six so that the racing version could race in the over-three-liter class. In 1973, the street car received a 3153-cc engine rated at 203 hp and 211 lb-ft of torque. A total of 1265 were built; the 3.0 CSL was not sold in the United States.
So what was it like to race the Batmobile back in the day? Be sure to register for our webinar to find out!