BMW M1 Procar Revival 2008
Dear media representatives and motorsport fans, Despite it being 30 years since the last official BMW M1 Procar Series race, the very mention of this pioneering one-make concept in a modern Formula One paddock still provokes enthusiastic reactions. The BMW M1 has certainly etched itself indelibly into the minds of motorsport fans across the world – and rightly so.
Right from the start the BMW M1 was intended to be exciting on the race track. Despite all the obstacles placed in its way, this impressive super sports car achieved precisely this objective by providing additional entertainment thanks to its appearance on the support programmes of Formula One events in 1979 and 1980. We are convinced the comeback of the BMW M1 Procar at the Hockenheimring will provide similar excitement for the spectators.
We are especially pleased to be able to celebrate this revival at our home Grand Prix. I trust the Media Information we are providing will help you enjoy this event – and you will derive as much pleasure as us with the return of the BMW M1 Procars during the German Grand Prix weekend.
1. The legend returns.
As part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of its birth, the BMW M1 super sports car will make a return to the race track during the 2008 German Grand Prix. On 19th and 20th July the BMW M1 Procar Revival at the Hockenheimring will see ten of these impressive cars taking part in two demonstration races. The event is planned as homage to the popular Procar Series, which attracted massive public interest when it appeared on the support programmes of Formula One Grands Prix in 1979 and 1980. Here world class drivers met old hands and newcomers – each determined to prove their prowess in identical BMW M1 Procar racing cars. Little wonder, then, the Procar events were followed as enthusiastically as the Formula One races of the day.
World famous drivers in the BMW M1.
What applied 30 years ago will apply during the revival at Hockenheim: renowned drivers will prove their skill behind the steering wheels of 470 bhp BMW M1 Procars. Six-time Grand Prix winner Jacques Laffite is particularly relishing his return to a BMW M1 cockpit. Former Formula One drivers such as Marc Surer and Christian Danner will also be present, as will BMW Brand Ambassador Prince Leopold of Bavaria, and veterans Dieter Quester and Harald Grohs.
BMW M1 Art Car in action.
The tenth car there to thrill the spectators at the classic Hockenheim circuit is the BMW M1 Art Car. Pop artist Any Warhol converted this vehicle into an artwork on four wheels. It will be the first time since the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hour Endurance Race this evocative car will be seen in action on a race track. Jochen Neerpasch, who was then chief of BMW Motorsport GmbH and thus responsible for initiating the Procar Series together with Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, will be in the BMW M1 Art Car for both demonstration races.
2. Supporting Formula One.
Driving skill alone differentiated the victors in the BMW M1 Procar Series from the vanquished, and this aspect, in turn, provided the one-make series' fundamental challenge. Equally the breathtaking sound of the BMW M88 engine and the sporty design of the racing car captured the imagination of spectators at the cars' every appearance as part of Formula One's support programmes.
The recipe for the series' success was simple: the five fastest Formula One drivers during Friday practice sessions were pitted against touring car specialists. The first five grid positions for the Procar race were reserved for the stars, with the balance of the field lining up according to times set during dedicated practice sessions for BMW M1 drivers. The series was welcome by all drivers and teams alike who were happy to participate, existing contracts permitting.
Successful debut in 1979.
The series got off to a flying start on 12th May 1979, when the first BMW M1 Procar Series was flagged away at Zolder. Italy's Elio de Angelis was a man on a mission as he carved through the field from 15th to enter the history books as the series' first winner. However, by the season finale at Monza an established Formula One star was ahead on points: then-double world champion Niki Lauda claimed the series with three overall victories and a second place. He was duly rewarded with a large prize purse and a brand new BMW M1. Within a short space of time the Procar Series found a massive following among fans and drivers alike. Nelson Piquet summarised the situation succinctly after one particular Formula One practice session: "Maybe I was only quick today because I was hoping to drive the BMW," he quipped.
Piquet's final sprint decides second Procar season.
Three consecutive victories in the final trio of races: this was the strategy elected by Piquet in 1980 to secure the BMW M1 Procar Series' second title. In the process he relegated Alan Jones and Hans-Joachim Stuck to second and third respectively. Jones, who would later that year capture the world championship, was a true fan of the BMW M1. The Australian was one of the first private buyers of the car. The same chances for all drivers was top priority: An 8,500 rpm limit was specified across the field, while an independent onboard rev counter and data acquisition unit enabled any transgressions to be monitored.
Comeback on familiar soil.
The revival event, which celebrates the BMW M1's 30th anniversary, will rekindle good memories of this unique one-make championship. And, what better arena for the occasion than the classic Hockenheim circuit, which hosted BMW M1 Procar Series races in 1979 and 1980? Niki Lauda and Didier Pironi were the respective winners.
3. Motorsport meets art.
While the BMW M1 is this year celebrating its 30th anniversary, the BMW Art Car Collection achieved the same milestone in 2005. Since 1975 renowned artists have decorated contemporary BMW automobiles. Included in the 16 BMW Art Car Collection exhibits are works by Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, A.R. Penck, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, and Andy Warhol, the legendary pop artist who, in 1979, converted a BMW M1 into the world's fastest artwork when he created the fourth-ever Art Car.
Using paint and brush, Warhol decorated a race-prepared BMW M1. Using sweeping brush strokes he was the first artist to paint directly onto the car's bodywork. "The car is more artistic than the artwork itself," was his verdict.
Under number 76 the BMW M1 Art Car took the start of the famous Le Mans 24 Hour classic, and was classified sixth overall. Since this success in 1979 no other work by the iconic artist has competed in a motorsport event. Now it will return to the circuit as part of the BMW M1 Procar Revival event at Hockenheim. Horsepower for the senses: the BMW Art Car Collection.
The Art Cars reflect the cultural development of Art, Design and Technology, and are exhibited in world-renowned museums such as the Louvre in Paris, the Royal Academy in London, New York's Whitney Museum of Modern Art, the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Sydney's Powerhouse Museum and Guggenheim Museums in
New York and Bilbao.
The French auctioneer and racing driver Herve Poulain inspired the concept of having artists decorate automobiles. He commissioned the American artist Alexander Calder to decorate a BMW racing car, thus laying the foundation for the steadily expanding BMW Art Car Collection. The 16th, and therefore the youngest Art Car to date, saw Olafur Eliasson use the hydrogen-powered BMW H2R as a canvas.
4. 30 years of BMW M1.
2008 sees the passing of 30 years since the BMW M1 made its debut. Nothing has changed during the past three decades: mention of this super sports car invariably raises the pulse rates of car lovers and motorsport fans alike.
For its debut in the autumn of 1978 this star of a car was in pristine white. As an ambassador for BMW Motorsport GmbH it turned out to be public magnet Number 1 when the 64th Paris Motor Show opened its doors. There the BMW M1, the first complete car built by the motorsport division of BMW, proved to be the show's primary attraction.
Inspiration from Italy.
In 1976 the team, working under Jochen Neerpasch, started this unique project aimed at producing a racing car which could also be driven on public roads by BMW customers. In order to achieve the desired Group 4 homologation, 400 production units would have to be completed in 24 consecutive months. In the autumn of 1977 BMW released the first pictures of the new car. These visuals instantly proved one thing: Italian blood coursed through the veins of this sleek Bavarian.
The lines of the coupe were reminiscent of the 1972 gullwinged-door Turbo study by BMW designer Paul Bracq, with Giorgetto Giugiaro having based the wedge-shaped design profile of the BMW M1 on this slightly rounded design. The M88 engine, fitted with the two-piece four-valve cylinder head from the CSL racing engines ensured breathtaking performance, while power was transmitted via a ZF five-speed gearbox to a transaxle equipped with a 40 per cent limited slip differential as standard. A power-to-weight ratio of 4.7 kilograms per horsepower ensured acceleration was the work of a moment for this super sports car – the 0 – 100 km/h sprint was covered in just 5.6 seconds.
Designed for the circuit – with maximum safety in mind.
In many respects the suspension of the road car was identical to that specified for the Group 4 racing car. Double wishbones were fitted at each corner, in turn complemented by gas-filled shock absorbers and two stabiliser bars, which enabled the BMW M1 to transform each and every country road into a race track. Impressive retardation was made possible by internally ventilated disc brakes, with emergency braking manoeuvres being relative child's play thanks to a 30% "Anti-dive" compensator. A 460 mm centre of gravity, track of 1550 mm (front) and 1576 mm (rear), combined with a mid-engined layout, delivered a pure motorsport experience.
The square-tubing space frame chassis, to which a composite outer skin was both bonded and riveted, displayed extremely high torsional rigidity. As the BMW M1 would not qualify for individual road registration, but would instead be covered by "Allgemeine Betriebserlaubnis" (ABE) – a group permit covering the entire production run – BMW demonstrated the car's passive safety standards via comprehensive crash tests. The BMW M1 was, therefore, not only fast, but safe, too.
The BMW sports car design rapidly mutated into a runner, with advance orders filling the books at BMW Motorsport GmbH equally quickly. Matters, though, were thrown into disarray when it became clear that production could not proceed at Lamborghini as planned, with the contract instead going to Baur, the German coachwork specialists.
Thus a long journey faced the car before it even completed a metre under its own power. The space frame chassis was fabricated by Marchesi, and the composite bodywork by T.I.R., both of whom were based in Modena, Italy. Giorgetto Giugiaro's company, ItalDesign, put these two together, then added interior trim before despatching the shells to Stuttgart, where Baur fitted the mechanicals.
As a result of these delays and allied changes of plan, insufficient time remained for BMW to build the required 400 examples within the two year mandated by Group 4 homologation. In order to ensure the BMW M1 would, though, enjoy a competition career befitting its pedigree, Jochen Neerpasch devised a master plan which proved both enterprising and highly successful: together with Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, he created the BMW M1 Procar Series. This one-make trophy ensured that the BMW M1 competed where it truly belonged: on Europe's classic race circuits.
Technical specifications BMW M1.
Engine Six cylinder inline, mid-engined Capacity 3,453 cc Output 204 / 277 kW / bhp @ 6,500 rpm Wheelbase 2,560 mm Length 4,360 mm Width 1824 mm Height 1140 mm Dry weight 1300 kg 0-100 km/h 5.6 seconds Maximum speed 262 km/h
5. A superb racing car.
The BMW M1 was designed for a life on the race track, as is evident by its every nut and bolt. The road car version was, therefore, particularly impressive, commanding a top speed of over 260 km/h, which enabled the car to enter the record books as "Germany's fastest sports car". However, the motorsport variants of the BMW M1, which were produced to both Group 4 and 5 regulations, were even more impressive.
After it was found in 1972, BMW Motorsport GmbH established its reputation through international successes achieved via the BMW 2002 and BMW 3.0 CSL. These successes would be impressively underlined by the performance of the BMW M1. During a TV appearance in early 1978, Jochen Neerpasch, then chief executive of BMW Motorsport GmbH, presented the racing version of the BMW M1, liveried for the first time in the now-classic colours of white, red and blue.
Power unit: the M88 engine.
For the team led by Paul Rosche, who was responsible for the engine, there was no problem tuning the production car engine to produce the sort of power required to ensure the BMW M1 would be competitive in Group 4. Forged pistons, reworked connecting rods and galleries, reprofiled camshafts, larger valves, a switch to sliding throttles in place of butterflies, plus reworked exhaust manifolds saw power output of the six cylinder unit shoot up from the original 277 bhp to just shy of 500 bhp.
The BMW M88 engine was equipped with dry sump lubrication and fitted longitudinally ahead of the rear axle to provide a true mid-engined layout. For versions complying with Group 5 homologation, engine output would be almost doubled – depending upon boost pressure – through the addition of two turbochargers.
Slimmed down for racing.
For racing purposes the chassis of the BMW M1 was also subjected to various changes. The passenger compartment was stripped of all superfluous padding, and only absolutely specified instruments left. The suspension was upgraded to racing specification, as was the braking system, and an aluminium safety cage provided additional driver safety.
During testing in April 1978 it became apparent the drivers were having difficulty keeping the Group 4 car on the road, so a massive rear wing was specified to generate the required downforce. Despite its wheel arch extensions and lowered suspension, the racing version only slightly differed visually from its road-going brother.
When trimmed down to a sporty 1020 kilogrammes, the BMW M1 Procar accelerated from 0 – 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and was capable of a top speed of around 310 km/h. Thus equipped, Marc Surer circulated the Nurburgring's legendary Nordschleife in just 7:55.9 minutes.
The Group 4-compliant BMW M1 was not only made available to the five Formula One drivers for use in Procar Series events, but was also offered ex-works as a turn-key racing car for 150,000 Marks. Illustrious teams such as Schnitzer and Heidegger were among the tuners who took up this opportunity.
Production of the racing version was undertaken at various locations. Pre-assembled BMW M1s were either delivered direct to BMW Motorsport GmbH, or made their way to Osella in Italy or Ron Dennis' facility in Great Britain for preparation. In both latter instances, all required components were made available from Munich. This mix of works and privately-prepared BMW M1s added significantly to the Procar Series' attraction.
No limits: Group 5 M1 Biturbo.
Besides being active in the Procar Series, the BMW M1 proved successful in events for vehicles complying with Group 5 homologation, which catered for special production cars based on vehicles competing in other classes of racing. The regulations were relatively open, enabling the twin-turbocharged BMW M88/2 engine to develop enormous power, while spectacular wings provided the car with the necessary downforce. Schnitzer entered this powerful racing car in the German Racing Championship, going on to celebrate numerous victories with this super coupe.
In 1981 the BMW M1 dominated the North American IMSA GTO Championship, with Dave Cowart and Kenper Miller finishing first and second respectively. Only one driver in the top ten drove other than BMW's mid-engined coupe.
Production ended the same year after a total of 46 Procar racing versions of the BMW M1 had seen the light of day. Ten of these masterpieces will return to the motorsport stage during the German Grand Prix.
Technical specifications BMW M1 Procar.
Engine Six cylinder inline, mid-engined Capacity 3,500 cc Output 345 / 470 kW / bhp @ 9,000 rpm Wheelbase 2,560 mm Length 4,360 mm Width 1924 mm Height 1110 mm Dry weight 1020 kg 0-100 km/h 4.5 seconds Maximum speed 310 km/h
6. Tradition provides inspiration: BMW M1 Homage.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the BMW M1 super sports car, BMW Group Design presented a homage to this legendary model at the 2008 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. This design study paid tribute to its predecessor – while simultaneously embodying the competence, creativity and potential of the BMW Group Design team.
"For BMW, heritage is always also a living heritage. Drawing inspiration from your own past and thereby reinventing yourself – which is exactly what the BMW M1 Homage demonstrates in impressive style," said Dr Klaus Draeger, BMW Group Board Member, Development. A particular strength of BMW Group Design is its ability to draw on its own powerful history and actively feed this into the design of the future. The BMW M1 Homage is a design study in the tradition of a BMW Turbo that represents a contemporary take on the BMW M1 and the mid-engine concept.
Design and technology newly interpreted.
"It is important for both a company and a product to be aware of one's roots," believes Christopher E. Bangle, Chief of Design BMW Group. "As did the designs of Giorgetto Giugiaro and Paul Bracq, so the BMW M1 Homage unites the values, designs and technology of BMW via a highly emotional and exciting interpretation."
The BMW M1 Homage draws on well-known elements of BMW's design repertoire, and, after interpreting them, places them in a new context. Its style fuses tradition and modern, and expands on design cues that encompass typical BMW expressions through the adoption of new solutions. Where contrasting colours were a dominant design theme for the BMW M1, this contrast is perpetuated in the BMW M1 Homage through its surface styling. Familiar elements, such as the trademark proportions, are combined with new and exciting lines, surfaces and details to create an up-to-date interpretation of the BMW M1, which remains to this day an extraordinary car.
Consequently the BMW M1 Homage combines the proportions and graphic themes of the BMW M1 with the surface language of the new BMW look – a combination that imbues the vehicle with an exciting, sporty and authentic emotionality.
The front-end styling adopts many of the graphic design themes of the BMW M1, yet is an absolute novelty for BMW. Each element assumes a function: the hallmark twin kidney, for example, is not only a distinguishing feature of the BMW brand but combines aerodynamic, cooling-air routing and safety solutions.
Vision and inspiration.
"The BMW M1 Homage clearly manifests the creativity and potential of the BMW Design team. A project such as this is a valuable source of inspiration for our day-to-day work," confirms Adrian van Hooydonk, Director Design BMW Automobiles. The BMW M1 Homage holds great significance for the BMW Group Design team, its genesis epitomising both a living tradition and an innovative future. This vehicle is designed as a source of inspiration; it sets out to challenge us to question and rethink what we see around us. The BMW M1 Homage pays eloquent tribute to the BMW Turbo and the BMW M1, which in their design were well ahead of their time. Originally slated as "merely" a design study or small series, their influence remains very palpable today – 30 years on.
7. Tough duels and smiling winners.
The BMW Procar Series thrilled motorsport fans across Europe on no less than 19 occasions. Niki Lauda claimed series honours in the 1979 debut season, with Nelson Piquet triumphing in 1980. Like Lauda, he subsequently went on to win three world championship titles – one of which was scored with the BMW Turbopower. Results summary of the BMW M1 Procar Series: Overall classification 1979 (Top-Ten).
8. Illustrious drivers in the cockpit.
When the BMW M1 Procar makes its comeback at the German Grand Prix, many of its original 1979 and 1980 stars will be part of the action. Jacques Laffite will make a return to the cockpit, as will the likes of Marc Surer, Christian Danner and Prince Leopold of Bavaria. Herewith information on the ten drivers starting at Hockenheim.
Jochen Neerpasch (DE).
Neerpasch was born in 1946 and his father was a car dealer, thus he quickly came into contact with the industry. He completed technical and commercial apprenticeships before qualifying as a master motor vehicle technician. In the sixties Neerpasch competed in various races, with the highlight being his victory in the Daytona 24 Hours in 1968. During the seventies Neerpasch was a manager at Ford, before BMW appointed him as Managing Director for the newly formed BMW Motorsport GmbH in 1972, where he initiated both the M1 and the Procar Series in 1979 before leaving the company.
In the eighties Neerpasch was responsible for various race series, including the Long-Distance World Championship. From 1987 to 1992, Neerpasch was head of racing at Mercedes and Managing Director of P.P. Sauber AG. From 1995 onwards he was employed by ADAC, and managed the STW Motorsport Series.
Marc Surer (CH).
Marc Surer can look back on a long career in racing, having been Swiss karting champion in 1972/73. In 1976 he was runner-up in the German Formula 3 Championship, driving a March BMW. A year later, racing a BMW 320 for the legendary BMW Junior Team, Surer competed fiercely for the German Racing Championship. In 1978, driving for the BMW Junior Team, he came second in the European Formula 2 Championship in a March BMW. The following year he won the title with the team. Between 1984 and 1986 Surer competed in Formula One with BMW turbo-powered Arrows and Brabham cars. In 1985 he won the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hour race, co-driving a BMW 635CSi with Gerhard Berger and Roberto Ravaglia. Today Surer works as TV commentator for German Premiere TV.
Prince Leopold of Bavaria (DE).
Prince Leopold of Bavaria started his racing career in 1963, participating in a variety of events ranging from hill climbs in a Mini Cooper to Formula Super V races. Since 1976 he has specialised in touring cars, competing for Porsche in German and international championships. In 1981 and 1983 he co-drove a BMW M1 at the Le Mans 24 Hour race, and contested the German Touring Car Championship in a BMW M3, thereafter switching to a BMW 320i for the Super Touring Car Cup. In 1993 and 1994 he drove a BMW 1800 TISA in historic races. Prince Leopold of Bavaria is a Brand Ambassador for BMW.
Christian Klien (AT)).
Christian Klien (born 7th February 1983 in Hohenems, Austria) switched to Formula BMW in 1999 following a career in karting. "That's where I learnt the basics of formula racing," he recalls, "and so joining the BMW Sauber F1 Team is a bit of a homecoming for me. I'm really pleased that I will be part of the team in 2008 and continue to be involved in Formula One."
Klien won the German Formula Renault in 2002 and was runner-up in the 2003 Formula 3 Euro Series. In 2004 he entered Formula One with the Jaguar Racing team. 2005 and 2006 saw him competing in F1 for Red Bull Racing. In 2007 he was a test driver for Honda. His best Formula One results so far have been fourth on the grid and a fifth-placed race finish.
Jorg Muller (DE).
Jorg Muller remains one of BMW Motorsport's longest serving drivers, and is held in particularly high regard due to his excellent development work. For example, he was the designated Formula One test driver in 1998/9 in preparation for BMW's return to Formula One.
At the start of his career, Muller won the European Formula Ford Championship, the Opel Lotus Challenge, the German Formula 3 Championship and the European Formula 3000 Championship. His biggest successes for BMW came with the BMW M3 GTR, with which he won the 2001 ALMS and claimed overall victory in the 2004 24 Hour race at the Nurburgring. He has consistently battled for the overall title in both the European and World Touring Car Championships – only missing out on these successes by the slenderest of margins. Currently Muller is contesting the FIA WTCC for BMW Team Germany – Schnitzer Motorsport in a BMW 320si WTCC.
Christian Danner (DE).
Christian Danner contested the Formula 2 championship from 1981 to 1984, also proving highly successful in touring cars. In 1985 he was European Formula 3000 Champion. He raced in 36 Formula One Grands Prix between 1985 and 1989, scoring four points. Danner claimed class victory in the 1984 Spa-Francorchamps and Anderstorp 24 hour races in a Linder BMW 325i. In 1992 he took overall victory at the 24 Hour race at Spa-Francorchamps, and won the 24 Hour race on the Nurburgring's Nordschleife. Presently Danner acts as Formula One commentator for the German television station RTL. In 1999 he received an award for the "Best Live Sport TV Broadcast" on German television.
Dieter Quester (AT).
Very few racing drivers can look back on such a long motorsport career as can Dieter Quester, and even fewer have achieved so many successes with a single brand. In 1968 he set three world records in a powerboat propelled by a BMW engine. Over the next 40 years Quester scored numerous victories with BMW cars. He was European Touring Car Champion on four different occasions, and celebrated successes in hill climbs and Formula 2. In 1979, in between winning the 1973, 1986 and 1988 24 Hour races at Spa-Francorchamps, the Austrian finished 12th in the BMW M1 Procar Series. Quester continues to remain successful in 24 Hour races with BMW: In 2006/7 he won three such races in 12 months.
Harald Grohs (DE).
Harald Grohs' racing career began in 1973, immediately attracting attention with four German Circuit Cup victories in ten starts. He contested two races in a Faltz team BMW 3.0 CSL, and won both. Jochen Neerpasch, then head of BMW Motorsport, gave Grohs two trial appearances in the North American IMSA series, thereafter signing him up for 1975. Grohs enjoyed success in the German Racing Championship, and in 1981 narrowly missed out on the Long Distance World Championship title with Porsche by just one point. He won the German Racing Trophy in 1983 in a BMW M1. In 1987 Grohs claimed the BMW M3's first German Touring Car Championship victory. A few years ago, he formed his own team – Grohs Motorsport.
Helmut Kelleners (DE).
Helmut Kelleners started racing in 1963, two years later racing a BMW for the first time and going on to win the Zandvoort Two Hour race in a BMW 1800 Ti. In 1968 he was runner up in the European Touring Car Championship, and claimed five overall victories in a Ford GT 40 a year later in the Manufacturers' World Championship. In 1970 Kelleners, co-driving with Gunter Hubert, won the 24 Hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in a BMW 2800 CS, and in 1979/80 raced in the Procar Series, finishing 9th and 14th. In 1980, together with Siggi Muller jun., he was crowned European Touring Car Champion in a BMW 320, repeating the feat in the 1981/82 seasons with Umberto Grano driving a BMW 635 CSi and 528i 2.0.
Sepp Manhalter (AT).
Sepp Manhalter's motorsport career was shaped entirely by the BMW brand. Manhalter, driving a BMW 2002, was Austrian Touring Car Champion in 1973. In 1976 and 1977 he drove a BMW 3.0 CSL to the Austrian circuit racing championship, thereafter racing in the BMW M1 Procar Series in 1979. In the mid-eighties he was victorious on several occasions in Austria with a BMW 635 CSi. In 1987 he crowned his career with victory in the Austrian championship in a BMW M1. Manhalter also managed a BMW dealership.