It was perhaps the moment that set forth a generation of motorsport success for one of Germany’s most successful automakers.
It – in this instance – was BMW’s 1975 win in the 12 Hours of Sebring, a first for the company in North America. Primarily, Brian Redman drove the No. 25 3.0 CSL to victory, although plenty of others on the team were involved.
Redman had his main co-driver Allan Moffat on board, and a retirement for the sister No. 24 3.0 CSL meant Hans Stuck and Sam Posey would also take turns in the No. 25.
Both Stuck and Redman are at Sebring this week to commemorate the 40-year anniversary, as BMW pays tribute to the past with the tribute livery in the present, on its pair of BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTEs.
Stuck serves as grand marshal for the race this week, while Redman is on site at the BMW classic cars display.
Both reminisced fondly about the experience.
“The win at Sebring in March 1975 with the BMW CSL was a great occasion and we had a very good race, really,” Redman told Sportscar365.
“Jochen Neerpasch, the team manager, his instructions to the drivers which was Sam Posey and Hans Stuck in one car and Allan Moffat and myself in the other car were, ‘Hans, you will go out and break the Porsches.’ Which he did, but he broke himself as well.
“He said to me, ‘Brian, you will take care and win the race.’ And really that’s what happened! I did the last session and actually drove about seven hours in the race for various reasons.”
Stuck described his last-minute call-up to become part of the eventual winning entry.
“I was going on the car with Sam, and something failed on my car,” Stuck told Sportscar365. “I don’t know what it was. It was a gearbox or engine. Then I was put in the other car with Brian and Moffat.
“Then I knew I had a winning car again so I had to take care of it.
“The longer the race went on, the bigger the chance was to win the race. When you are a young driver, when you have such an important chance to win the race, you’ve never had that chance. You hear voices that never existed. You have to be especially careful, and sometimes too careful.
“I remember a very interesting thing. At the last pit stop, when I just wanted to take off, our tire engineer stopped me because he could see we have a slow puncture. So we had to put a fresh tire on. We don’t know if we would have won the race without it.”
Redman recalled another potential pitfall, in the lights on the car not working according to plan.
“My battery started to go down for some reason,” Redman said. “It started going, so I had to drive without the lights, except going past the pits, I didn’t want to get black-flagged.
“With about 20 minutes to go I come past the pits, put the lights on and look at the gauges. To my horror, the rear axle temperature gauge was off the clock. I slowed right down to as slow as I could go, and watched the gap come down as much as I could to the second car.
“Anyway, it stayed together and we won.”
The win served to introduce BMW to the North American market and set the path for the company’s success both Stateside and internationally.
Stuck, meanwhile, described how honored he is to be representing BMW and Sebring as grand marshal of this year’s 63rd edition of the March endurance classic.
“It’s interesting for me because I have won a couple races in Germany, and I won Le Mans three times (twice overall, and a third in class) and never have been asked to do this,” he said.
“First of all, this is a big surprise and a big honor. To be the grand marshal here, in one of my handful of favorite places, where I have been successful which I like very much, and now having this honor again with BMW is perfect.
“I’m totally, positively shocked that I can do this.”
Stuck and Redman will be able to witness the next generation of BMW drivers – Dirk Werner, Bill Auberlen and Augusto Farfus in the No. 25 car and John Edwards, Lucas Luhr and Jens Klingmann in the No. 24 car – roll off from fourth and sixth respectively today.