In honor of IMSA’s 50th Season, the No. 80 Bimmerworld BMW in the Michelin Pilot Challenge will be adorned with one of the most iconic liveries in the racing paddock – the original red, blue, and purple stripes of the BMW M1.
The BMW M1 Procar of the early 1980s became the first of many BMWs to boast the diagonal stripes. After a commanding later season in 1981, the M1 dominated the GTO class for years to come. Decades later, the iconic stripes reappeared on the BMW Z4 GTE car, which debuted at the 2013 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The stripes were also featured on the 1980’s E30 M3 DTM car with its Warsteiner livery. The No. 80 competing in this week’s upcoming BMW Endurance Challenge has the Warsteiner livery duplicated with modern sponsors: Stance, Richard Mille, and Hot Scream, The Spicy Ice Cream.
Drivers Kaz Grala and Aurora Straus, the drivers of the No. 80 car and one of the youngest-ever pairings in the paddock, are elated to be sporting such a historic livery for their debut as a team.
“It's going to be surreal driving such an iconic paint scheme up the high banks of Daytona,” said Grala. “The history of BMW in our sport is so rich; there's no doubt we will have a lot to live up to this weekend. It's amazing to have this opportunity from a powerhouse manufacturer. We hope to make them proud on Friday when we take the green flag in their colors.”
“I am honored to be racing with the classic BMW stripes. BMW has a long, successful history in IMSA, and while racing technology has evolved, this historic livery reminds me of all of the work that has gone into the M4 GT4 that I will race this weekend,” said Straus. “As a young BMW driver, I think of it as making my own mark on professional racing.”
“My love of BMW cars and Motorsport started with the E30 M3, and the DTM cars were the pinnacle of performance to me,” said James Clay, owner of Bimmerworld Racing. “The Warsteiner E30 M3 with the M Stripes stood out to me as an icon in those days. A little over twenty years later, our BimmerWorld Racing team is running a modern version of this same livery to represent BMW in the first race of the 2019 season, with two eager drivers at the top of their game. This whole event is very special to both the team and me, and we are honored to be a part of the rich BMW Motorsport history.”
Victor Leleu, BMW North America’s Motorsports Manager, reflected similar sentiments.
“BMW is delighted to see this iconic M livery return to the track. It’s a wonderful tribute from Aurora, Kaz and BimmerWorld and quite fitting as we kick off IMSA’s 50th anniversary celebrations.” Said Leleu. “BMW NA has been a pillar of IMSA competition for over four decades, and we can’t wait to get the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season started. These colors are associated with countless wins and podiums for BMW, including here in IMSA with the BMW M1 in the early 80’s and more recently on the Z4 GTE that took two consecutive second-place finishes in the Rolex 24 in 2014 and 2015. I think the colors fit the M4 GT4 perfectly and I hope they will bring luck and success to both drivers and team in this Friday’s BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona.”
The No. 80 BMW will be competing in the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 25th. Tune in to IMSA.com to watch live at 12:15 pm EST.