août 13, 2020 2 min read
Forty-something years ago a legend was born. The 3.5 inline-six M1 was the first car to be entirely developed by BMW's M division and was designed from scratch for a life on the track. You can think of it as the great-grandfather of all M BMWs, a dynasty that has since done so much to help shape and push forward the sports car segment while amassing a global legion of devote followers. Originally planned to be a collaboration between BMW and Lamborghini, the M1 was launched in 1978 with only about 450 units of the mid-engined hand-built bavarian unicorn ever being produced. And, with a top speed of 260 km/h, it was "Germany's fastest sports car" and therefore crowned Kaiser of the Autobahns.
But BMW's plan went far beyond just creating an amazingly good sports car that also looked the part. In 1979 the BMW Procar Series came along, a one-make racing championship starring a beefed-up 310 km/h version of the M1 and, in spite of its 2-season only short lifespan, went down in history as a spectacular star-incrusted motorsport event, with a parade of F1 drivers joining in on the fun - Andretti, Fittipaldi, Hunt, Lauda, Piquet and Prost just to name a few. Spoiled for choice, we went with the BASF livery - does the word cassette ring any bells? - in part because of its unique and remarkable design, but mostly because it made the biggest exhaust flames of the lot. Seriously, google "M1 BASF flamethrower". You're welcome! The granddaddy of all M BMWs! On the road, the M1 was the Kaiser of the Autobahns, and on the track, it was the main attraction of BMW's Procar Series, where drivers like Lauda, Piquet or Prost helped it become a memorable part of motorsport history. Fast-forward - in case you're old enough to get cassette related jokes - to the unique BASF livery which looked its best while spitting massive exhaust flames around the tracks.
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