(MotorSport)

Brian Muir in an Alpina BMW 3-litre CSL during the May 1973 Spa 1,000km.

He shared the car with Hans Stuck, the pair finished second in class, eighth outright, immediately behind the sister Alpina machine raced by Niki Lauda – and Hans Stuck! The race was won by the Mirage M6 Ford prototype crewed by Derek Bell and Mike Hailwood.

Muir is too often forgotten in conversations between enthusiasts in Australia about successful internationals. He was a much respected figure in touring cars and sportscars in the UK/Europe for the better part of 30 years after leaving Australia for the UK for the second time, as winner of the ‘Smiths Industries Driver to Europe Prize’ in late 1964.

Click here for a good summary of his life/career; Motorsport Memorial – Brian Muir

Brian Muir chasing David Hobbs at Silverstone during the July 1968 BSCC round, Falcon Super Sprints. They finished the Duckhams Q Trophy in this order, there was nothing in it, both were credited with the same fastest lap (LAT)
Brian Muir aboard the works Lotus 62 Vauxhall he shared with John Miles, chases the Helmut Kelleners/Reinhold Jost Ford GT40 during the April 1969 Brands Hatch 6 Hours. The Lotus pair were 13th outright and first in the 2-litre prototype class, the GT40 was 16th. Race won by the Jo Siffert/Brian Redman Porsche 908/02 (MotorSport)
Muir aboard the winning Ford GT40 during the April 1968 Barcelona 6 Hours at Montjuic Park. He was co-driven by Francisco Godia-Sales (J Vinals)

Brian had a terrific year in 1973, he raced Alpina tuned BMW CSLs in both the British Saloon Car Championship and the European Touring Car Championship.

In the UK the battle for outright honours was fought between Frank Gardner’s legendary SCA European Freight Services Chev Camaro Z28 and fellow Sydneysider, Muir.

Gardner won the title with wins in six of the eight rounds he contested, Muir won at Silverstone and Brands Hatch to finish fifth overall behind better performing smaller-capacity class cars.

Oopsie, two Sydneysiders at play at Silverstone. Frank Gardner’s Chev Camaro Z28 copping a bit of TLC from Muir’s BMW CSL during the April 1973 International Trophy BSCC round (A Cooper)
Brian Muir three-wheeling in his chase of Frank Gardner at Brands Hatch in August ’73. BMW’s homologation goodies for the year included a nice-fat 3.5-litre engine and aero pack including the iconic Batmobile wing. Gardner won the race while Brian DNF with oil pump failure in his 3303cc engine (MotorSport)
Muir aboard the Alpina 3-litre CSL he shared to victory with Niki Lauda at the ETCC season opener, Monza 4 Hours, March 1973 (Alpina Automobiles)

Things were better in Europe though.

Brian and Niki Lauda won the first ETCC round at Monza – the Monza 4 Hours – in March leaving four Ford Capril RS2600s in their wake.

Muir was second at the 4-Hour Austria Trophy at the Salzburgring sharing with Toine Hezemans, and again at the following round, the 500km of Mantorp Park, Sweden. Ford Capri RS2600s won both races crewed by Dieter Glemser/John Fitzpatrick and Glemser/Jochen Mass respectively.

Paired with Alain Peitier, Muir’s car failed at the Nurburgring’s Grosser Preis der Tourenwagen with bearing trouble while running the just homologated 3.5-litre engine. It was the first of many bearing problems that year.

In a race – make that series – chock-full of GP drivers, Stuck and Chris Amon shared the winning 3303cc BMW 3.0 CSL from the similarly engined works car of Hezemans/Quester/Harald Menzel, then the 3498cc Alpina entry shared by Lauda/Hans-Peter Joisten.

Muir pulls to a stop with Niki Lauda all set to jump aboard during their successful Monza run at left. Who is the driver near the BMW’s boot? (Automobilsport)
Lift off at the Thruxton BSCC round in May 1973. Muir, Gardner and Dave Matthews Ford Capri RS2600 on the front row, Gardner won from Muir and Matthews (MotorSport)
Brian Muir aboard the ill-fated 3.3-litre CSL he shared with Hans-Peter Joisten in the early stages of the July ’73 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (unattributed)

Then it was off to Belgium for the classic 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps.

There, Brian popped the car on the front row – sharing with German racer Joisten – between the works cars of Stuck/Amon and Hezemans/Quester.

Tragedy struck Joisten during the race when he passed two Alfa Romeo 2000 GTVs of Roger Dubos and Claude Ballot-Lena. Travelling too fast, Hans-Peter touched the barriers and was pinged back onto the track, where Dubos saw him and started to brake before being simultaneously rammed by Ballot-Lena, crashing into Joisten’s car. Both Joisten and Dubos were killed instantly in this freak accident.

Hezemans/Quester won from the factory Capri RS2600 of Mass/Fitzpatrick.

The next round was in the Dutch sand dunes at Zandvoort in mid-August. At the end of four hours the Zandvoort Trophy was held aloft by Hezemans and Quester who won from Muir and James Hunt in the Jagermeister Alpina entry. In third and fourth places were two RS2600 Capris led by the Fitzpatrick/Gerard Larrousse machine.

Brian Muir goes around the outside of Ivor Goodwin’s Hillman Imp at Silverstone during the July 1973 BSCC round, DNFs for both, with again, Gardner up front (MotorSport)
The other main 1973 ETCC protagonist, the fabulous 325bhp/970kg Ford Capri RS2600. This is the Fitzpatrick/Gerry Birrell car during the Monza 4 Hours in March, DNF (MotorSport)
Brian at Spa during the 1,000km meeting, ain’t she sweet? (MotorSport)

Three weeks later the ETCC circus raced at Le Castellet, contesting the 6 Hours of Paul Ricard.

With the RS2600 at the limit of homologated tricks – lookout for the 3.4-litre Cosworth GAA powered RS3100 in 1974 – the BMWs were again on the front row and finished in first to fourth places, a race of complete dominance.

Hezemans/Quester won from Ickx/Hunt, Stuck/Amon and Walter Brun/Cox Cocher. The best of the Capris – the Mass/Jackie Stewart machine – was fifth but 11 laps adrift of the winning car. Brian Muir and John Miles qualified eighth, but their 3.5-litre engine had head gasket failure after water loss.

The final round of the series was the RAC Tourist Trophy, it comprised two heats of two hours each at Silverstone on September 23.

The cat-among-the-pigeons was Gardner’s Camaro, although his speed was handicapped by tyre problems throughout. Harald Ertl’s Alpina CSL won the first heat from the Capris of Mass and Fitzpatrick with Muir a distant ninth having lost his front spoiler early in the race. Second place in the second heat behind Derek Bell’s Alpina machine was better; Brian was third overall behind Bell/Ertl and Mass’ Capri.

Toine Hezemans’ speed and consistency throughout the season paid off, he won the ETCC with 105 points from 42 years old Brian Muir on 77, and Dieter Quester on 75. BMW demolished Ford in the manufacturer’s title, 120 points to 97.

BMW E9 3.0 CSL – Coupe Sport Licht – Group 2 1973…

(B Betti)

A few summary points on salient technical features of this great road and track machine.

The unitary steel chassis had aluminium door, bonnet and boot panels, these and other mods reduced weight by about 200kg to a total of circa 1050kg.

BMW M30 cast iron, aluminium block SOHC, two-valve Bosch injected straight-six engine. 3003cc 324bhp @ 7000rpm, 3340cc 355bhp @ 7600 rpm, and 3498cc engine 370bhp @ 8000 rpm.

ZF worm and roller steering, ZF or Getrag five-speed, or Getrag four speed box. 10.7 inch disc brakes all around, 12.5 inches X 16 and 15.75 X 16 wheels

Credits…

MotorSport Images, LAT, touringcarracing.net, Jordi Vinals, Alan Cooper, Alpina Automobiles, Automobilsport, Bruno Betti

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Brian Muir aboard his Scuderia Veloce Holden EH S4 during the one-race Australian Touring Car Championship at Lakeside, Queensland on July 26, 1964.

Note the ‘Nomex’ Polo-Shirt. Brian led the event late in its 50 laps but a pit stop to replace a tyre ruined his day, he was seventh in the race won by Pete Geoghegan’s Ford Cortina GT.

Click on the link for an account of this race; Lakeside early days… | primotipo…

Finito…

Comments
  1. McCarthy, Andrew says:

    Great stuff Mark ! I was only aware of his F2 attempts and domestic F Holden stuff

    Sent from my iPhone

    • markbisset says:

      Andrew,
      You are getting the Muirs mixed up.
      Bob Muir is the single-seater bloke who did a few UK F3 races 1971’ish, then went back with Bob & Marj Brown and did the British F Atlantic series in 1975 (Birrana 273) and one or two Euro F2 rounds in 1976 (Minos/Chevron).
      Brian Muir was a very quick taxi bloke who also did well in sportscars including works Fords in the GT40/Mk2 era. Did the big taxi-bash at Mt Panorama a few times both before he went OT, and later in his career, in the L34/A9X era.
      Both GREAT drivers.
      m

  2. prn31 says:

    Hi Mark,
    I’ve written profiles on both Brian and Bob Muir and people still get them mixed up to this day!
    Bob met Brian whilst he was England and he gave me this great quote: “I’m glad you came over here. I want to thank you because now not only I’m the number one touring car driver in the UK but I’m the number one open wheeler driver as well!”
    The BMW CSL that Muir raced was built by Malcolm Gartlan Racing for UK BMW Concessionaire. Gartlan told me that in England it raced with Spike Winter built 3.0 and 3.2 BMW engines. Burkard Bovensiepen (of Alpina) wanted the car to race in the European rounds but using their own Alpina engines and gearboxes, which Gartlan’s team had to change. For the ill-fated Spa 24 Hour Muir was teamed with Hans-Pieter Joisten in his own Jägermeister sponsored Alpina entered car. The Gartlan car was raced by a Belgian crew under the BMW Dealer Team GB Alpina banner and was withdrawn after the Joisten fatal accident – they were running one-two at the time.
    At the end of the year Gartlan closed the team when he couldn’t find a sponsor for 1974 – BMW were cutting back amidst the fuel crisis. It should be noted that Muir raced for Gartlan from 1969 through to 1973, initially in a very successful ‘Penske inspired’ Camaro and then a Capri RS2600 that famously beat the works team at Paul Ricard in 1972 (look it up.)
    Gartlan and his loyal engineer Ted Grace got the ‘band back together’ for the 1983 ETCC in a Group A BMW 635CSi under the Ted Grace International banner. Unfortunately, their sponsorship with Hepolite fell through and the car was sold to Frank Sytner on the proviso Muir co-drive with him. Sadly Muir’s last race would be the 1983 Tourist Trophy where he and Sytner finished 10th outright.
    Muir would also operate the Alpina UK Concessionaire from his base in Pershore for many years before a stocky Scotsman with a penchant for Jaguars took it away. But as they say, that is another story.
    Paul

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Paul,
      That extra layer of detail is fantastic.
      I guess the confusion is understandable given the surname and crossover of racing period if not the disciplines! Although Bob did desert to taxis in the end didn’t he, when his serious career was over.
      Mark

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