Background Stories

The only legal BMW M3 at the 1987 Monza WTCC race

The ETCC has always seen many private entrants. The story behind such entries is not often told. Here is an example of one with an unexpected outcome.
It is telling the story of Hungarian József Cserkúti in the 1987 WTCC round at Monza. To get the picture, remember that in 1987 the Iron Curtain is still dividing Europe, though there are signs of things to change.
This interview had been published in an Hungarian magazine and translated by Geza Sury.

Q: Your results surprised everyone! Many people had had no idea that you had been building a new racing car. (...)
CSJ: Ever since I first heard of the new BMW M3, I had been playing with the idea to build such a car for myself. The first components had arrived on 3rd January, since I had been working flat out. (...) We finished the car just a week before the (Monza) race. I tested it on the Hungaroring, and the team practiced refuelling tyre changes. The car was disasterous: the back end had been wobbling and the engine hadn't been perfect either.
Q: What kind of changes did take place at Monza?
CSJ: At Monza, we talked to the members of BMW Motorsport GmbH and they told us what to change. They gave us new spings and suspension parts, altered the electronics of the engine, changed the exhaust system, thus they found an extra 15 hp, so the power output increased to 295 hp. The factory team lent me two mechanics to look after my car and they changed everything on the car for free. Also, Pirelli supplied us with tyres. During practice, the car was running perfectly. All three of us had recorded a time enough for qualification.
Q: You had been partnered by a German driver.
CSJ: I'm lacking financial funds, so I hired out the car for spare parts. Also I would like to have Hungarian driver in the team, that's why I took András Szabó with me. He also did a time which would qualify us for the race. My other team-mate was German Anton Fischaber, who not only brought spare spare parts along, but he is a good driver as well. He had already competed in the European Touring Car series, and been the member of the Alfa works team testing the car at Monza for months. He is a five-time European hillclimb champion as well.

Q: What was the race like?
CSJ: To be honest, when we had arrived, I wanted to return to Hungary immediately. The entry list was full of F1 drivers, like Giacomelli, Nannini, Patrese, Danner, not to mention Johnny Ceccoto and Michael Andretti. Even the name of Niki Lauda was on the list! We were dreaming about qualifying for the race. But my fears disappeared during practice. It was Fischaber, who had started the race, I took over the car on lap 42, which time we were lying 11th. It turned out, I had made a mistake building the car, when I put the throttle and the brake pedal too close to each other and at a wrong moment I pressed them both. I spun, and flat spotted the tyres. By the time I settled down, I lost such a great deal of time, that the eventual class winners, Klammer and Oberdorfer lapped us. Circuit racing was a new experience for me, I'm not getting used to do 250 kmh! (...)
Q: According to the press agencies, you had finished seven places lower where you were actually classified. What happened?
CSJ: The Holden team had launced an appeal and all BMW M3 had been disqualified, except for mine.
Q: Your plans?
CSJ: Because of the new car, we spent all money available. We don't have the financial assets to enter the World Championship for 60,000 bucks, nor the European Series for 6,000. We're going to do some races both WC and EC to learn something about circuit racing. But we emphasize our efforts on the European hillclimb championship.

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