In case you needed reminding, or convincing, that the BMW M1 Procar Series was by a country mile the greatest-ever one-make series that the motorsport world has ever seen, this video from Monaco in 1979 should do the trick.
If you’re new to the concept, the Procar series pitted the top Formula 1 stars of the day against a selection of touring car and sportscar aces in identical 470bhp BMW M1 supercars in support of a selection of European Grands Prix in 1979 and 1980. What on earth is there not to like about that?
The Monaco round of the championship was the second race on the inaugural calendar. Shadow newboy Elio de Angelis had won at Zolder – from 15th on the grid – two weeks before to take an early series lead, but the Italian would miss the next two rounds.
Procar regulations decreed that the five fastest drivers from Friday’s F1 practice session would be guaranteed the first five slots on the Procar grid (regardless of the positions in which they qualified their M1s) in a quintet of cars entered by BMW Motorsport, whose boss Jochen Neerpasch had devised the series.
Thus, the day before the Grand Prix on the unforgiving Monte Carlo streets, double world champion Niki Lauda lined up at the front, ahead of Williams racer Clay Regazzoni, who was just under two months months away from delivering the British team its maiden GP success. Third on the grid went to Emerson Fittipaldi, ahead of Tyrrell racer Jean-Pierre Jarier and Ligier’s Patrick Depailler. Fastest qualifier was ATS driver Hans-Joachim Stück, who held off the fastest of the non-F1 boys, BMW’s former European Touring Car Champion Toine Hezemans, to start sixth.
Once the race gets underway at the one-minute mark, following highlights from the whole year, the film shows plenty of action up and down the field, via some great camera angles, including an embarrassing half spin for Bruno Giacomelli (70) at Mirabeau and a barrier-basher for sportscar privateer Walter Brun (61).
We won’t spoil the outcome, but you have to listen hard to hear who’s won once the background music spoils the rasping 3.5-litre six-cylinder Bimmers in the last 30 seconds!