Larry Webster, the Editor-in-Chief at Road and Track, had the unique opportunity to race the BMW M1 during the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca. The M1 is owned by BMW North America who didn’t seem to object much and even shared some tips: ” Shift at 8500, but you can carry a few hundred more rpm if needed. Watch the warning lights, one for oil pressure, the other for water temperature. And you’ll need a few laps to warm the massive slicks.”
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First built in 1978, the M1 is one of BMW’s finest vehicles to date. It was the first and only mid-engined BMW to be mass produced.
The M1 Procar version was Modified into the M88/1 by a team led by Paul Rosche and it was capable of producing 470 horsepower at 9000 rpm.
The M1 was hand-built between 1978 and 1981 under the Motorsport division of BMW as a homologation special for sports car racing. The body was designed by Giugiaro, taking inspiration from the 1972 BMW Turbo show car.
Only 456 production M1s were built, making it one of BMW’s rarest models, so I wasn’t surprised when we saw the M1 being priced at $140,000 in a recent auction.
The Procar Series was a one-make series for the M1 that preceded each of the Formula One races and included Formula One drivers coupled with drivers from a wide array of other racing series. BMW had also set up a specific deal with Formula One drivers allowing the top 5 fastest drivers to compete in the Procar series each Saturday before a Sunday Formula One race.
Before jumping to the video, here is the entire track review from R&T: