Thirty years ago BMW's M1 was built explicitly for Group 4 homologation purposes, in part to allow the car to compete in the BMW M1 Procar series, which proved to be a surprise success. The one-make series was one of the first of its kind, and now BMW is bringing it back as part of the company's 30th anniversary celebrations. For two race days in July at Hockenheim, the M1 Procar series will race again.
The unique method of assigning drivers for the 20 cars fielded in each race was also part of the series' draw. Five of the spots were allocated to the top finishers in Friday practice for the Formula One Grand Prix. The other 15 spots were filled by young race drivers hoping to test their mettle against the world's greatest drivers. To make the challenge even harder, during the first two years of the series, the F1 drivers in the field started at the front and were handed works cars built by the factory team.
For this year's revival of the series, a selection of some of the greatest racing drivers, commentators and enthusiasts of the past three decades will take the wheel. Jacques Laffite, Dieter Quester, Prince Leopold of Bavaria and Jochen Neerpasch - the latter piloting an Andy Warhol Art Car co driven by Frank Stella, himself a creator of a BMW M3 CSL Art Car that raced at Le Mans in 1976.
BMW recently showed a tribute concept to the M1, called the M1 Homage. Purely a design study, the car is not intended to go into production, and was shown as a rolling chassis, with no running gear or engine. The car's creation was part of the ongoing 30th anniversary of BMW's M division, which is also celebrating 30,000 cars built over those three decades.