Imagine a single-make series in which Formula One drivers compete with each other in equal machinery. Who would come out on top in a level-playing-field battle between Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel?
In the late 1970s and early ’80s, race fans didn’t have to speculate. They had the BMW M1 Procar series, in which F1 pilots competed against private drivers, to provide the answers. (For the record, Niki Lauda won in 1979, Nelson Piquet in 1980… the series only ran for two seasons.)
In all, 54 M1 Procars were built, and Japanese BMW collector Masakuni Hosobuchi has just taken delivery of this one that has been fully restored by BMW Classic. And, rather than just let it be shipped to his home, he collected it from BMW Welt, the official factory hand-over facility where people more commonly collect their shiny new diesel 3-series and 5-series estates. As many as 160 cars per day can be collected from the dedicated facility, but this is the very first M1.
The car carries its original Ja Zum Nürburgring (‘yes to the Nürburgring’) livery. It’s more than just a colour scheme: Nelson Piquet and Hans-Joachim Stuck drove this one to a class win and third overall in the 1980 1000km race at the Nordschleife.
If there’s one way to upstage the BMW range hierarchy, Mr Hosobuchi seems to have found it…