Historic Australasian BMW 635 CSi touring car to debut at Silverstone Classic
A classic 1980s BMW 635 CSi racer will make its European debut at the 2017 Silverstone Classic.
With its iconic black and gold JPS livery, the BMW has never left Australasia – having raced there with considerable success throughout the years.
Jim Richards, the famed New Zealand racing driver who was the BMW's original star driver – will take to the track in the car at the Silverstone event
Richards is renowned for his seven wins at the Bathurst 1000, and first raced the 635 CSi in 1983 when it belonged to Frank Gardner Racing.
At the time it participated under Group C touring car regulations, and had limited success.
However, in 1985 Australia adopted Group A regulations, and the BMW went on to win seven of the ten rounds on the race calendar that year, and also took the inaugural Australian Touring Car Championship title.
It was during the time it was racing under Group A regulations that New Zealand collector Peter Sturgeon bought the car.
Sturgeon had it converted back to Group C specifications, after Richards and Pip Baker – who worked with the Frank Gardner team – talked him into it.
Sturgeon said: "Pip adopted the project and it took him almost 18 months to complete. It was worth all the effort, though, as the final result is utterly amazing.
"The sound of the straight six, twin-cam engine revving at more than 8000rpm is something all petrol heads should hear.
"In Group C form, this is the one and only 24-valve engined BMW 635 ever raced and to have Jim back driving it is very, very special."
Richards added: "It's a beautiful car. I'm so glad we persuaded Peter to put it back in what we called Group C specification, as those rules were a bit more liberal than Group A, more widely used at the time.
"It now looks absolutely stunning with its big arches and a 24-valve motor which revs to around 8,400rpm and sounds glorious even with a muffler.
"I've been invited to Goodwood a couple of times but have never been to the Silverstone Classic before. I'm told it's another of the great events, so I'm really looking forward to it."
The Silverstone Classic runs from July 28 to July 30.