BMW M1 Procar Series – The Races

BMW M1 Procar Series – The Races

The BMW-M1-PROCAR-Series

For two years, namely in 1979 and 1980, the BMW M1 drove in Europe as part of the supporting program for Formula 1. BMW had found an ingenious way to be present in the Grand Prix circus without investing enormous sums of money.

The mix of drivers guaranteed excitement at the Grand Prix weekends. The five fastest Formula 1 drivers in qualifying will each compete against a maximum of 15 private drivers. Formula 1 greats such as Nelson Piquet, Alan Jones, Carlos Reutemann, Didier Pironi and Jacques Laffite fought against privateers such as: Hans-Joachim Stuck, Marc Surer, Jan Lammers, Manfred Winkelhock, Dieter Quester, Helmut Kelleners and Hans-Georg Bürger.

The prize money per race was: Winner: U$ 5,000, 2nd U$ 3,000, 3rd U$ 1,000. In addition, each individual privateer received U$50 for each lap they managed to finish ahead of an F1 driver during the race.

The 1979 Season

During the 8 races of the 1979 Procar season, the five best-placed Formula 1 drivers from Friday practice received a BMW works M1 for qualifying and the starting grid for the following GP on Sunday and started on Saturday according to their practice times in front of the field of qualified private drivers had to qualify for the following starting grid on Friday afternoon. The factory M1s were painted white with a diagonal BMW Motorsport stripe (light blue-dark blue-red) – from the front left to the rear right. The F1 pilots had the same start number as on their F1 cars. Exception: the drivers from Ferrari and Renault were banned from starting the Procar races by their teams.

The 1980 Season

Nr. 80, Hans-Georg Bürger, Monaco, PROCAR-Serie 1980

The 1980 Procar season had the following changes from 1979:

  • BMW sold the rights to the M1 racing series to the “Procar Association”. The cars for the F1 drivers were now built and serviced by the company “B&S Fabrication” in Luton (GB) (owners: Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone).
  • the M1 for the qualified F1 pilots got a new design. They were painted white and sported a red stripe design for the first three races. From the 4th round on the Norisring they wore a green stripe design.
  • the five best-placed F1 drivers, like all other private drivers, had to qualify with the M1 cars on Friday afternoon. Unlike in the 1979 season, their qualifying times for the GP on Sunday no longer counted.