It seems that the 1 M Coupe has finally made its appearance in Daytona – just in time to serve as the official pace car of the 49th 24 Hours of Daytona – held at the Daytona International Speedway.

This picture comes to us courtesy of our friend Stephen Maguire of United BMW of Roswell who is trackside with Bill Auberlen,  Joey Hand (both driving BMW’s this weekend), Mike Renner and Matt Mullins, performance driving instructors from the BMW Performance Center near Spartanburg, SC.

Some of you might remember Stephen from his other posts here on BMWBLOG in the Spring of 2010 when he and Mike Renner piloted the Performance Center X6 M to a second place finish in the truck class for the One Lap of America competition.

Earlier this week, our leader Horatiu managed to catch the hard-to-miss Valencia Orange 1 M Coupe making the long trek from upstate New Jersey all the way down to Daytona Beach, Florida. Somewhere outside of Philidelphia, Horatiu spotted a bright orange dot on the horizon, zeroed in on it and mustered all of the strength of his compact rental car to track the the curious vehicle down. Upon catching the car, he was rewarded with an unbelievable surprise: a pre-production 1 M Coupe on a long test drive to help break it in before it steps out onto the track tomorrow in front of an international audience as the official pace car for the 24 Hours of Daytona.

From these pictures – the pace car markings on the 1 M Coupe are minimal with only a few stickers and the light bar across the roof. However, the light bar may not be necessary when the car comes painted in Valencia Orange!

We will be present for the race tomorrow and bringing you coverage of not only the 1 M as it guides a fleet of race cars around the historic track but also of the many teams that are proudly carrying the BMW Roundel. Watch this space today and tomorrow for more content as the 24 Hours of Daytona kicks off bright and early tomorrow. We will also work to provide even more coverage of this very special 1 M Coupe!