BMW Zentrum Spartanburg

In one month, fans of BMW M cars will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Jochen Neerpasch, the very first director of BMW Motorsport and arguably the most important person in the history of BMW M will appear at a special private event on Friday, May 13 prior to the opening of the BMW CCA Foundation museum’s newest major exhibit: “The Power of M: Celebrating 50 Years.”

Jochen Neerpasch

Jochen Neerpasch.

The May 13 event will also feature Formula 1 driver and Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, who was a member of Jochen Neerpasch’s first BMW Junior team.

Cheever-1977

Eddie Cheever racing for the BMW Junior Team.

The private reception, to be held in BMW’s beautiful Zentrum in Greer, South Carolina right next to the largest BMW factory in the world, was arranged for select VIPs, including members of BMW CCA’s M Chapter and others. As of today, a limited number of tickets are still available, but will likely disappear quickly when sales are opened to the public this Friday, April 15.

Tickets, while they last, may be purchased here.

The special reception will take place Friday, May 13 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and will include heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, and soft beverages. For the ticket price of $199 (plus $8.99 ticketing fee) attendees will also receive admission to the Saturday, May 14 Open House at the BMW CCA Foundation Museum, where guests will see the new “Power of M” exhibit in advance of the official opening on May 16. The BMW CCA Foundation Museum is located directly across Highway 101 from the BMW Zentrum and BMW Plant Spartanburg, and is immediately adjacent to the BMW Performance Center.

The “The Power of M: Celebrating 50 Years” exhibit will feature 25 cars and one motorcycle from throughout BMW Motorsport’s history, including significant race cars and their road-going counterparts from BMW M.

Neerpasch-Art-Car-1

Jochen Neerpasch and car owner Hervé Poulain were the two people most responsible for initiating the BMW Art Car program.

Jochen Neerpasch was managing director of BMW Motorsport GmbH from 1973 to 1979. He was responsible for BMW’s first successful racing program of the modern era, including endurance racing wins at Le Mans, Daytona, and Sebring. Neerpasch founded the BMW Junior Team in 1977, comprising Eddie Cheever, Marc Surer, and Manfred Winkelhock. Neerpasch’s innovative training program was the first step on a more than 40-year journey that has seen BMW develop an impressive stream of top racing drivers, including DTM and Formula 1 world champions.

Significant BMWs displayed as part of the the “Power of M” exhibit include:

  • The 3.0 CSL “Batmobile,” the first car developed by the newly formed BMW Motorsport as a homologation special for racing in the European Touring Car Championship.
  • Street and Procar racing M1s, the first M-badged car built by BMW Motorsport.
  • M3s, including a rare Johnny Cecotto edition of the road-going E30, a Group N or DTM racing M3, the E36 M3 Lightweight, and a race-winning Team PTG E36 M3.
  • Generations of M5 from the original E28 through the F10.
  • A 1 Series M Coupe, X5 M, and a rare E92 M3 Lime Rock Park Edition.
  • The Daytona 24-Hour-winning M8 GTE, campaigned by BMW Team RLL and private entrants.
  • While not technically an M car, the BMW Motorsport-developed 2002 Turbo will be on display.
  • BMW’s 100-year tradition of race-winning sport motorcycles, including the M 1000 RR superbike built by BMW Motorrad in the first collaboration with BMW Motorsport.

“The Power of M: Celebrating 50 Years” exhibit is sponsored and supported by The Tire Rack, Continental Tire, FCP Euro, BMW Value Service, BMW North America, The Werk Shop, CocoMats, Century BMW, Hagerty, and Enthusiast Auto Group.

About the BMW CCA Foundation

The BMW Car Club of America Foundation is an enthusiast-powered nonprofit charity working in partnership with its donors, corporate partners, and the 70,000-plus members of the BMW Car Club of America. It is not a subsidiary or program of BMW AG or BMW of North America, although they are strong partners. The BMW CCA Foundation’s missions are to help young drivers learn life-saving car control in real-world situations (the Tire Rack Street Survival program) and to celebrate the heritage of BMW vehicles through its museum, archives, and preservation programs. The BMW CCA Foundation operates the world’s second-largest BMW museum and archive on seven acres next door to the BMW Performance Center in Greer, South Carolina.—Scott Blazey

[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]

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