As racing regulations evolved in the mid-1970s, BMW Motorsport saw an opportunity to beat arch-rival, Porsche, in a new racing series by designing and manufacturing a purpose-built racing car and offering it for sale to the public as stipulated by the rules.
The BMW M1, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and powered by a Paul Rosche-designed 3.5-liter, twin-cam 6-cylinder engine, mounted amid-ship, debuted at the 1978 Paris Auto Show tot eh admiration of the world's motoring press. The only problem was that delays with outside contractors caused its appearance to coincide with the demise of the racing category for which it was built. The quick thinking solution was the fast and furious ProCar Series which preceded European Formula One races, pitting the top-five qualifying Grand Prix starters against 15 talented local drivers in identically prepared M1s. The ProCar Series ran in 1979 and 1980 with championships by Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet, respectively.
This M1 Group 4 racer was campaigned in the 1981 IMSA GTO Series, seeing action at the 24 Hours of Daytona, Watkins Glen and Mosport. Drivers included David Hobbs, Mark Surer, and Dieter Quester. M1 ProCars are now prized collector items and can be seen on vintage race tracks around the world.