Rare BMW Le Mans Car to Race at Paul Ricard

From 18th to 20th October 2019 the Paul Ricard circuit will vibrate to the sound of the Dix Mille Tours, a meeting for historic cars. This event, whose name derives from the rev counter on the cars, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and  new for 2019 is the Endurance Racing Legends grid that comprises the GTs and prototypes of the 1990s-2000s, which will be racing on the Le Castellet track for the first time.

Fans will be able to admire an car that has never been seen before at an historic race: the BMW V12 LM from 1998. Rare in many ways, its chassis built in collaboration with Williams F1. This BMW is part of the category of sports prototypes designed and developed exclusively for circuit racing. It uses the same engine as the McLaren F1 GTR, but with its cubic capacity reduced to 5 990 cc.

Only two of these racing machines were built and spectators will be lucky enough to see one of them competing in the Dix Mille Tours. This is the first chassis made and carries the Number #001/98. It was entered for the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans for Steve Soper, Tom Kristensen and Hans-Joachim Stuck, but the BMW V12 LM had to retire due to a fault with he rear wheel bearings.

Once this issue fixed, the car was back at Le Mans the following year driven by Steve Soper, Thomas Bscher and Bill Auberlen and finished fifth overall. 2000 was not a lucky year for Thomas Bscher, Geoff Lees and Jean-Marc Gounon who failed to see the chequered flag because of a mechanical glitch. In fact, this car is the model on which the BMW V12 LMR that won the 1999 Sebring 12 Hours and the 24 Hours of Le Mans was based. The Dix Mille Tours of Le Castellet will mark the beautiful German car’s return to the track with Olivier Galant as pilot. Its last appearance in public was at Rétromobile in 2016.

Picture: Wouter Melissen / Ultimate Car Page

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