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Readers Writes - Donington Park With a BTCC legend.

What would it take for you to hand over the keys to your pride and joy and ride shotgun around a lap of Donington Park? Perhaps a smooth talking BTCC champion? Customer and friend Martin Wooler shares just such an experience.

The BMW Car Club's 'Sommerfest' festival at Donington Park in August 2022 included a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the E9 BMW 3.0CSL, this 'homologation special' model having been introduced in May 1972 and the 500 UK 'City Package' vehicles all having been built in December 1972.

It was a lovely warm Summer day, but I wasn't expecting when I arrived to be asked if I would be happy for my taiga green CSL to lead the cavalcade lap of the circuit driven by Colin Turkington, 4-time BTTC Champion: I must have looked a little apprehensive because it was quickly added that I could be a passenger! I don't know what I did to deserve this honour, as while I like to keep my car in top condition, there were quite a few other good CSLs there on the day... Perhaps it had something to do with the BMW-themed cake I usually take along to BMW Car Club annual festivals?

I'm normally extremely protective with regards to my cars and I'm not sure whether I've even let anyone else drive my CSL. I was duly introduced to Colin Turkington and despite being relieved to see that he wasn't wearing Nomex racing overalls, I had to ask him, "You're not going to rag my old car, are you?" as I handed over the keys. I was immediately put at ease by Colin's soft Northern Irish lilt and relaxed, confident manner - I suspect that his resting heart rate is probably around 40bpm, to give him plenty of headroom when he's dicing it at the Craner Curves at 140mph!

-Martin Wooler (left), Colin Turkinton (middle), Howard Walker (right).

It was unusual for me to be clambering into the back seat of my own car, to allow long-term BMW Car Club Director Howard Walker to take the front passenger seat as Colin Turkington snuggled into the driver's Scheel chair. After a short wait behind a safety car we were off, super smoothly and of course at what must have been for Colin Turkington near-pedestrian speeds. The fancy new BMW 8 Series immediately behind driven by then-Club Chairman, Martyn Goodwin, looked threatening and absolutely huge in comparison to my classic.

It was such a joy to be driven round the Donington circuit by Colin Turkington and, literally, lapping up the admiration of the crowd and commentary by BMW Car Club's Richard Stern. I was on a 'high' for perhaps a week afterwards and Colin Turkington was even complimentary of the car as he handed me back the keys. The following weekend Colin Turkington won both Race 1 and Race 2 in the BTCC at Snetterton, driving his racing BMW 330e M Sport, and I suspect going rather more quickly than he had in my car at Donington.

For me, this was one of the absolute joys of classic car ownership. A big thank-you to Barney (and his brother) for helping me buy my BMW 3.0CSL and making it roadworthy afterwards.

-Martin Wooler

We would like to once again thank Martin for taking the time to put pen to paper and share this awesome story with us - I think it's safe to say any motorsport fans in our audience would be positively Taiga Green with envy!

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