Cloning a BMW 3.0 CSL

This past weekend we hosted 50 of the country’s fastest track cars at Virginia International Raceway for the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge.

One entry definitely stood out to officials and competitors alike: Billy Glavin’s 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL. Crowds gathered and gawked as Billy’s CSL slowly made its way through the tech line.

This blast from the past is owned by Billy’s father Bill, but is prepared and driven by Billy. Together they founded a shop called Jr III Racing that specializes in track preparation and support for vintage race cars in Mooresville, North Carolina. This BMW is one of their shop cars.

So is it actually one of the 3.0 CSLs campaigned by BMW in the 1970’s? No, but that doesn’t make it any less incredible.

The build all started with inspiration from the famous poster of Hans Stuck airborne at the Nürburgring in a 3.0 CSL. Both Billy and Bill knew they wanted one. Since it was not possible to obtain the actual factory car, they set out to build that car on the poster. To keep things as authentic as possible, it would be created from the ground up as an FIA Group 2 car as raced in 1973.

A clean CS chassis was located, striped of all parts and sent out for acid dipping. Then the roll cage and bodywork began. The aero kit and fenders were sourced from the factory molds, which had been sold by BMW. The car was completed in 2010 but underwent a major overhaul and modification in 2016.

The original engine was pulled out and replaced with a fully built, period correct single-cam M30 engine with slide throttles and Kugelfischer injection. That combo is now making around 400 horsepower at the crank.

Along with the engine swap, the suspension and chassis were upgraded to handle higher speeds and loads. All suspension mounting points were converted to solid mounts. The steering box was replaced with a rack and pinion—a modification that the factory homologated in 1973. The car was also converted to centerlock hubs to allow period correct BBS wheels to be run.

All the modifications on the car were done to be as period correct as possible in hopes of obtaining SVRA Gold Medallion status. The one area that the builders note as not period correct is the safety equipment inside the cockpit for the driver. The car uses the latest safety equipment, including Schroth FIA race nets on either side of the driver and a Lifeline Novec fire system.

After many years of development, the car is starting to reach its full potential. Billy may not have brought the absolute fastest car to the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge, but it was perhaps the coolest. His 3.0 CSL received both the Competitors’ and Officials’ Choice awards at the event. It also claimed the Fastest Vintage award with a very quick 2:08.463 lap time.

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