Those of you who have followed me a bit on social media will know that I looove cars. It started thanks to my father who had some cars that I find interesting still today: BMW e30 325 IX, E36 M3 and e46 M3, Peugeot 205 GTI. And that’s where the passion was born. Now, as a racing driver this is rather an advantage, I hear you say. I agree. But I don’t just mean racing cars, I mean all cars. Every morning with coffee, I am looking at specialist websites and auctions for the sales of vintage cars. I have tons of listing saved on my phone and I regularly exchange ideas with Damien, my best friend in France who is equally passionate about cars. I particularly love cars from 1960 to 2000. These cars are straightforward, without driver assistance or electronics, just simple and beautiful.
I learned to drive in a 205 GTI built in 1989 which is a very special car to me. Another car that is more than a car to me is the Corvette Grand Sport, the pace car of the Indy 500. After winning this mythical race in 2019, as the first Frenchman in 99 years, I received my own personal version by Corvette. It is Bordeaux red and absolutely stunning.
I could go on for a while but today, I really want to tell you about my BMW 2002tii. As a kid, this car was one of my dream cars, especially growing up in France! Those cars were compact nimble, fast, very good for the twisty road and the racetrack. The 2002 turbo was the beginning of the M3 era. The 2002 tii was produced between 1971 and 1975 and quickly became cult at the time.
To celebrate winning the INDYCAR championship in 2016, my wife and I (who is just as much into cars as I am) decided to bid on this gem out of California. We won the bid and had such a great time in the process! Since then, we have enjoyed the car a lot and improved it along the way! For example, I had a MegaSquirt electronic fuel injection system installed, the transmission tunnel was modified to fit the 5-speed transmission and the turbocharger was replaced. It has beautiful Recaro front seats and 15″ Alpina wheels.
For the past six years, we took the car on some beautiful rides around North Carolina, where we live. I really have some great memories when it comes to this car. I always remember driving it on the Sonoma racetrack (as my street driver, I never drove it on any tracks) on the Thursday before winning the championship.
But my eyes are now on other great vintage cars (more about this another time) and I decided to sell it even though it will be missed.
The BMW was sold to John Da Costa. John is a 2002 BMW enthusiast. It was his first car when he got his driving license in the USA. He did the repairs himself, then he decided to sell it and the car is still in a family circle today.
When John drove my car, I expected him to test it on the road for a minimum of 30 minutes, sufficient time to find out that the car is clean and presents well. John took a drive around the parking lot and came back with a big smile saying: “It’s exactly as I remembered it and it’s great.”
I then helped him load the car into his trailer; in reverse to avoid rubbing the front bumper that is naturally low on this car. All this with the help of his son Julian Da Costa who is a young racing driver, aspiring to become a professional. He will race his first year in MIATA this year, and I will follow his results and progress closely.
It was a great meeting and a pleasure to discuss with Julian and John his son’s future in motorsport while advising them on possible trajectories to follow.
It was all the more pleasant as John knows the 2002 BMWs well, and I know that it will be in a family that will continue to take care of it and keep it at a good level of performance.
This experience gave me the desire to continue chasing for cars that I like. Buying and reselling particularly interest me. Let’s see where this will lead me in the future.