We’ve driven a BMW coupe with winning form to the Spa Classic ourselves, so it seems only right to further indulge our current bout of ’70s/’80s tin-top fever with this stunning picture gallery of a BMW CSL Batmobile.
There are a half a dozen examples running in the Heritage Touring Cup this weekend, and ironically we’ve chosen a 1975 car that’s actually a replica with no ‘in period’ race history. But bear with us, as it’s the car that won the HTC race at the Spa Classic last year, it is clearly superbly prepared, and it’s being driven by an all Belgian-team that includes GRR’s best friend at Spa – the circuit general manager and GRRC member Pierre-Alain Thibaut – and the car’s owner Eric Mestdagh.
Pierre-Alain (pictured here with the car) reckons the CSL is definitely the weapon of choice for the HTC race – and not just because he’s driving last year’s winner.
‘It’s a Group 2 car so the regulations mean we have suspension that is much more adjustable, plus we have 350hp against the 300hp of the heavier Group A spec cars in the category.
‘With the Group A cars, when you slide you lose time. With a car like the CSL you have enough power to slide out of the corners and not lose any time, so it’s really good fun to drive.’ The car has a brand new engine for Spa, we’re told, and is running a 7,200rpm limit. In period the engines would race up to 7,800rpm reckons Pierre-Alain, but ‘you don’t need it as the engine torque is so fantastic’.
So is this the best car with which to do battle with the challenging Spa-Francorchamps circuit?
‘All cars are good to drive at Spa (did we mention he’s the circuit manager? ed) because we’re very lucky as the corners are so well designed.
‘But it’s always better when you’re driving one that slides…’
Photography by Tom Shaxson