It’s round 15 of the 1986 Camel IMSA GTP sportscar series at the legendary Watkins Glen road course in upstate New York.
On the pole, as the Americans like to say, for the New York Kodak 500, is the BMW GTP (based on a modified March 86G chassis) of young guns Davy Jones and John Andretti, with the sister car of Grand Prix and endurance-racing veterans David Hobbs and John Watson alongside.
The striking, BMW Motorsport-liveried prototype, a factory car to all intents and purposes, had made its debut in the US equivalent of the Group C World Sportscar Championship in the second round of the series at Miami earlier in the year, but had been beset by reliability issues and, at Elkhart Lake in the race before The Glen, a massive accident from which Jones was lucky to escape and which we get to relive in this video.
Jones, who would add his name to the list of Le Mans 24 Hours winners a decade on, and Andretti, who would go on to win in Champ Car and NASCAR, take what would be the car’s only IMSA win, ahead of a brace of privateer Porsche 962s – the Holbert Racing car of Al Holbert and Derek Bell and the Dyson Racing machine of Rob Dyson and Price Cobb. With just a few corners to go, Cobb loses second place to the pursuing Bell after running out of fuel.
The historic victory for the two-litre turbocharged monster that happily pushed out more than 1000bhp in qualifying trim, is the last in IMSA for German giant BMW, which had enjoyed Stateside success with its 3.0 CSL and 320i production-based racers during the 1970s.