BimmerLife has partnered with BBS USA to bring you stories from Monterey Car Week 2023. Stay tuned as Kyle van Hoften shares his adventures from this week-long automotive extravaganza.
If you see Kyle, or any of the other BMW CCA crew, make sure to say “Hi!” Kyle has some swag from BBS to hand out to new and renewing members. If you’d like to start or extend your BMW CCA experience, click here.
Monterey Car Week has wrapped! The smell of race fuel has dissipated at Weathertech Raceway, the last concours cars have departed the eighteenth fairway at Pebble Beach, and most of the 100,000 visitors have retreated from the Monterey Peninsula. For BMW CCA member events, Thursday’s Legends of the Autobahn and the two-day Festorics event are in the rear-view mirror, but the memories are certainly front and center like a good heads-up display.
If you’re reading this story just after “Festival within a Festival,” which covers day one at Festorics, this is not a repeat. In short, the sights, sounds, and even smells and tastes at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion cannot be contained in just one day. After a full Friday of Festorics, new and returning members arrived again to treat the BMW CCA Turn Five hospitality tent and corral as their home-base for a second day of front-row Festorics action.
The tent is full throughout the day, not just with included food and drinks, but with BMW North America (NA) and BMW CCA leadership and staff. This was punctuated with a tent-covered line up of some of BMWs latest cars, seen earlier at Legends on Thursday.
BMW NA Product Communications Manager Alex Schmuck represented his team on the mic to welcome Club members. “We from BMW NA are happy to be here at Festorics with the CCA members,” Schmuck says. “We are excited to showcase some of our current and future products, including the first i5 in the U.S. and the prototype hydrogen-powered X5, as well as the M3 CS and the new M2. It is always great to see the reception the new cars get from the event attendees and how passionate the guests of Festorics are about the cars we bring.”
While the M2 and M3 CS are already available, the i5 will reach these shores in a few months. The iX5 hydrogen-powered vehicle is a prototype, so it was intriguing to hear directly from BMW an early update as to its impact on BMWs future. You can hear more about both cars at this link for the i5 and this for the iX5.
San Diego-based member and M Chapter Governor Lisa Goehring has attended countless BMW CCA regional and national events and appreciates being able to engage with that leadership. “I really enjoy coming up to Legends of the Autobahn and Festorics. It’s nice to be able to connect with key players from BMW NA, the Performance Center, and the Club’s national leadership and staff,” she says. “It’s cool to be among the first to see some of the newest and special models that BMW NA brings out to display.”
“It’s also a great opportunity to see club members from all parts of the country, many with their outstanding BMWs on display,” she continues. “There’s such a huge range of vehicles, from unrestored, original-condition classics to the most current models. I really enjoy the Meet & Greet sessions with BMW race teams and drivers. It’s great to meet them, hear more about the histories of the cars, their ownership, the racing, and more. It adds even more to seeing them race around the track while we cheer them on from our Turn Five tent.”
One common theme with many of those cars again is their choice of wheels. While many BMW CCA members’ eyes focus on BMWs, cars of all kinds wear the same BBS wheels that were so popular in period. “BBS began in motorsport, finding early success with BMW, Porsche and other manufacturers in the 70s,” BBS Vice President Sales and Marketing Jesse Hemans explains. “Events like the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion are always fun for enthusiasts but for BBS fans, it’s especially exciting. We know it’s fun for BMW CCA members in the Turn Five hospitality tent to see cars parked there with BBS wheels and then on the other side, historic cars racing by on BBS wheels, too.”
It’s not a coincidence the so many BMW CCA members are fans. “The same technical expertise that made BBS wheels so prevalent racing has continued to make the wheels we see on so many consumer cars today,” Hemans continues. “Now with BBS Unlimited, we are making it easier to bring customized BBS solutions to more cars. It might be the most significant BBS development since our split-rim three-piece wheel changed racing in the seventies.”
It hasn’t been just Hemans waving the BBS flag. Club supporter Hagerty has said similar comments in recent years. “BBS wheels have adorned some of the coolest classic and modern-classic cars of recent times,” James Mills wrote in 2020. “Soon after the BBS Mahle wheel went racing in the early 70s, it was one of the most in-demand aftermarket wheels available, [too]. The company then went on to create the ‘split-rim’ three-piece wheel that was light and ideally suited for performance vehicles. The aftermarket went wild for split rims and their distinctive cross-spoke pattern and car manufacturers, race teams, and even motorsports championships came calling on BBS’ technical expertise.”
In addition to the CSLs racing with BBS wheels, you could find them around the track on Porsche 962s, Porsche 935s, Corvettes, Oldsmobiles (not a typo), and even the new Apollo hyper car that stopped by the paddock. One additional car that caught many BMW fans’ eye was the pedigreed Riley Daytona Prototype. Octavio Rincon’s car not only had BBS wheels, but was powered by a Dinan-built, mid-mounted BMW S62 engine.
On the other end of the engine spectrum in a 1967 BMW 1600, BMW CCA member David Murray was back for his third year driving at the Rolex Reunion. He placed second in the last race of the weekend, the 30-car 1955–1969 Saloon class. “It might not look like real racing but when the helmets go on, we all get a little more competitive spirit than one would imagine,” Murray says. “But the fact that it went back on the trailer in the same condition it came off the trailer makes it a great weekend already. There isn’t prize money and we’re all really out there enjoying putting our classics through the paces with each other.”
“Sometimes, though, it’s the pride of finishing in front of your buddy,” Murray laughs. “But meeting people is a lot of the fun, too. “The Escort that finished first Saturday was next to us in the paddock. [Todd Willing] is from Australia and works for Ford Special Projects. It was great meeting and talking with him and the other drives out there. I tried to convince some to come up north and race with us near Seattle!”
Regardless of one’s favorite marque or era or style of car, there is definitely something for everyone—not just every race fan—out there. It’s a bonus to have the BMW CCA corral and hospitality tent there, especially in such a great location. From your choice of shade or sun, the views over turn five include a panoramic look at more than half the two-plus mile track. Having food and drink, plus your car yards away in the corral makes a race weekend much more enjoyable. We’re already looking forward to seeing the corral cars and race cars coming for 2024!—Kyle van Hoften