An omen for the M1s greeted the #51 ZOL Auto car on the first lap as it pitted to have the clutch bled. This would not be the last stop of this nature for the car, which also required changing of all six spark plugs. Before the two-hour mark, the #53 SDC Builders M1 also required an extended pit stop to bleed the clutch, and repair damaged bodywork from an accident caused by a bad gear change. One bright spot of progress was the Nurburgring-winning bright red #50 BASF entry, which had made its way to eighth overall by the first hour. This promising start was first thwarted by clutch problems, and then ended with a crash before six hours had been completed. More troubles for BMW were to come before Sunday, with the #71 Prinz von Bayern entry retiring at the seven-hour mark with crankshaft damper failure. In addition, just before midnight, the #53 SDC Builders entry pulled into the pits with a severe engine vibration, which warranted replacement of the crankshaft damper. Unfortunately, its bad luck did not end as it retired with engine failure after 20 hours of racing. The same misfortune befell the #52 Wurth entry and the #72 ZOL Auto Group 4 machine before noon on Sunday. Ironically, the sole finishing M1 was the #51 ZOL Auto entry, which had pitted on the first lap, soldiering on to a sixteenth place finish after undergoing a gearbox rebuild.
With the advent of the new Group B and Group C regulations, 1982 was a transition year at Le Mans. BMW withdrew from endurance racing due to these regulations, which might explain the fifty percent reduction in M1 entries compared to 1981. The new Group C formula brought great interest, and the faster cars forced the M1s further toward the back of the grid, with the quickest M1, the #61 SOS 99.99 car in thirty-ninth position overall and second in Group 5. The #62 Olympus/Crockford’s / Emka IMSA GTX entry returned to Le Mans after running the 1981 race as the #53 SDC Builders entry. It qualified at a time of just over four minutes, which was good for a Group 4 M1, but was quite poor for a former Group 5 entry. It was followed by the unique #85 multicolored IMSA GT entry of Tony Garcia, which sported a large rear spoiler in place of the ubiquitous rear wing.
Progress was swift for each of the IMSA class machines as the #62 GTX M1 gained thirty positions in the first five hours. The #85 IMSA GT entry gained sixteen positions in the same amount of time, which placed it just one spot adrift of the of the #61 Group 5 entry in thirty-fifth place. Throughout the night, the Group 5 and GTX entries continued their fine runs, with the #62 M1’s advance to eleventh overall mildly hindered by a crankshaft damper replacement, and the #61 M1 making steady forward progress having climbed from thirty-fifth to eighteenth in eight hours. The #85 bespoilered M1 was not so fortunate, having succumbed to engine failure around 3:00 am. Further troubles awaited the M1s with the #62 M1 requiring a clutch change before noon on Sunday, and the #61 car a gearbox rebuild after reaching fourteenth position. The rebuild caused the car to lose several places, but it was able to reenter the race and finish eighteenth, being the last car classified. Having remained amongst the top fifteen for three-quarters of the race, the #62 car appeared to have a curse placed upon it during the waning hours. After having its complete exhaust system replaced, the car developed an oil leak with less than three hours to go, ending its fine run. It was a truly disappointing year for the M1, yet 1982 was probably its best chance at a win in a straight fight against the Porsche 935, the fastest of which qualified at a time of 3:44.03. In 1981 the #50 BASF Group 5 M1 had qualified at 3:47.63. With another year of development, problem solving, and a tad bit more speed, the prospects would have been fabulous.