On a hiatus since 2014, BMW Group Classic is back this year at the Le Mans Classic with an M1 built to meet Group 4 regulations. It’s the race car driven by Leopold of Bavaria, Christian Danner, and Peter Oberndorfer during the 1981 edition of the famous endurance race. 42 years later, the very same pilots will race the very same car on the very same circuit.
In a bid to come full circle, the three drivers got together earlier today with the mid-engined supercar in the Münchener Wirtshaus livery for a photoshoot held in front of the Spatenhaus an der Oper restaurant in Munich. The trio, therefore, reenacted the photo session organized on June 3, 1981, a few days before the 24-hour race that year (June 13-14). The decision to bring back the M1 Group 4 represents a joint effort between BMW Group Classic, BMW Motorsport, and BMW France to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Le Mans race.
While the M1 will be entered in the Plateau 6 category, BMW Group Classic is bringing other race cars to Circuit de la Sarthe. Specifically, the V12 LMR that triumphed at Le Mans in 1999 will be there, and so will BMW’s very first official Art Car – the 1975 3.0 CSL penned by Alexander Calder. Jeff Koons’ M3 GT2 Art Car from 2010 will also attend the event.
Nearly 20 privately owned old BMW race cars will take part in the Le Mans Classic this year, which is scheduled to take place between June 29 and July 2. Next year, the automaker will return to top-tier racing at the French circuit with the M Hybrid V8 as part of BMW Motorsport’s decision to compete in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). There’s a lot riding on the M Hybrid V8 considering 2024 will mark the 25th anniversary of the V12 LMR’s overall win at Le Mans with drivers Joachim Winkelhock, Pierluigi Martini, and Yannick Dalmas.
Meanwhile, the endurance race car is competing this year in the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.