Forty years after the launch of the BMW M1 Procar series, fourteen M1 Procars will run at the Norisring on July 5–7 as part of the DTM weekend. The original Procar Series was run in 1979 and 1980, and a revival event was run on the Hockenheimring in 2008.
BMW had originally planned to enter the M1 in the World Sportscar Championship in 1979, but the FIA upped the ante by requiring that 400 road cars be built for homologation. Rather than delay the car’s racing debut, Jochen Neerpasch, director of BMW Motorsport GmbH at that time, worked with F1’s Max Mosely and Bernie Ecclestone to create a one-marque series for the M1. In 1979 the series ran as a very entertaining sideshow at Formula 1 races; in 1980 it continued to run with Formula 1, but it also ran at other events. The cars were driven by Formula 1 racers and a few additional selected drivers. Niki Lauda won the series championship in 1979 and Nelson Piquet won in 1980. The Norisring was one of the circuits that the series ran on in 1980; Hans Stuck won there that year.
The series was very entertaining in 1979 and 1980; there is every reason to believe that the revival will be a crowd-pleaser as well.—Brian Morgan
[Photo courtesy BMW AG.]