Go Johnny Go
It was with great pleasure that I delivered this utterly stunning E30 M3 Cecotto to the lucky new owner. It is safe to say, that he is without a doubt one of the biggest BMW Motorsport enthusiast one could possibly meet. He and I go back many, many years and have motor-raced many different M3s in many events all over Europe for nearly 20 years.
The Cecotto he bought from me has spent a couple of months in the workshop being prepared to his own very high standards. With our guidance together we drew up a mechanical age related work list including full engine freshen up, bodywork corrosion protection programme and some small cosmetic details.
All this work was done to ensure that the car fits in to his exceptional collection of BMWs.
I thought those of you who do not know how the original concept of this car came about, may enjoy the little history lesson below.
So why Macau Blue? Well to most Macau is a city in China rather better known for its extreme wealth, tourism and gambling but to a handful of us car nuts it is the home to the once a year motorsport feast that is the Macau Guia Touring Car Race, a street circuit that has been hosting races since 1954.
The first event was actually a treasure hunt won by a Triumph TR2. Then in
1955 the first proper motor race started and since then sports cars, single seaters and touring cars have battled the 3.8 mile street circuit.
Touring cars first came to Macau in 1972 and this event quickly became a must for every major player in Touring Car Racing. BMWs first win came in
1980 with the E21 320 driven by Hans Stuck and since that win BMW have had huge success winning 20 times over a 42 year period.
However it was the magnificent wins of 1987 and 1988 with the E30 M3 that led BMW to name this fantastic metallic blue after the legendary Macau Motor Race. Macau blue still remains the most talked about and loved E30 M3 colour to this day and is reserved for only BMW Motorsport products.
Only a handful of guys have managed the transition from two wheels to four with any success. Johnny Cecotto is one of them. His career started in his home country of Venezuela on bikes and at the young age of just 18, became the national champion. He then won the championship again in 74.
Cecotto's first international motorcycle race came at the Daytona 200 in
1975 where he caused a stir amongst the established riders by setting pole and finishing third overall. His arrival in Europe stunned the establishment further with wins in his first ever Grand Prix. He was crowned the youngest ever world champion at the end of 1975 in the 350cc class. In 1976 he returned to Daytona as a works Yamaha rider and achieved an outright win.
From 1977 to 1980 Cecotto competed in the 500cc grand Prix class with numerous successes and some serious injuries. Cecotto retired from motorcycles at the end of the 1980 season mainly due to injuries and decided it was time for a new chapter. Motor racing.
His four wheel career started in the highly competitive formula 2 championship. Many race wins and plenty of quality drives during 1980, 81 and 82 with Minardi BMW and March BMW lead to drives in Formula 1. His 1983 and 1984 seasons were spent driving for both Theodore racing and Toleman Motorsport but Formula 1 was tough. A massive shunt in the British Grand Prix lead to two severely broken legs and the end to Formula 1 and single seaters.
The next move for Cecotto was Touring car racing and three outings at Le Mans. Without a doubt this is where Cecotto's talent really peeked. His dominance and success is far too great to list here, but Cecotto was in massive demand from the leading Touring car teams. Drives for Volvo, Mercedes, Opel and BMW in DTM, ETCC, BTCC, Italian TCC, Nurburgring 24 Hours, Spa 24 Hours and Bathurst carved his name in the history books as one of the greatest Touring car drivers of all time.
It is his achievements with Team Schnitzer and BMW Motorsport in the E30 M3 that we celebrate here. BMW produced 480 Special Edition cars that wore the name Cecotto on the dashboard plaque. This was BMW's thank you to him for all his hard work and accomplishments.
Macau and Cecotto. Is there another car since to have carried two such iconic names?
To be continued.....