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BMW M1 Procar at the Monaco GP: Picture of the week

This picture comes from one of the coolest one-make race series of all time: the BMW Procar championship

BMW’s supercar M1 was a fantastic combination of Italian Giugiaro styling and German engineering – born out of an agreement, and subsequent disagreement between the German company and Lamborghini in the late 1970s.

While the road-going car was a very refined and almost subtle take on the supercar concept, it had a much more unsociable sibling: the Procar racer.

The Procar series was a one-make championship, introduced by BMW’s motorsport division in 1979, initially helping to homologate the M1 for Group 5 racing. It ran for two seasons, latching onto the F1 world Chapionship’s European tour – with many of the current F1 drivers taking turns in the BMW-supported works cars.

All of the Procars were built to Group 4 specifications, with some serious modifications over the road car, including wide arches and adjustable rear wing. The fantastic BMW Motorsport M88 engine was substabtially modified for track work – seeing power increase to over 470bhp at 9000rpm.

Seen here in action at Monaco, the Procars encouraged some extremely fierce racing, with Niki Lauda battling Hans Stuck for the overall championship in the 1979 season.

With BMW’s move to the world of F1 on the cards, it’s plans to enter the M1 into full-on Group 5 racing never came to fruition. This spelled an end to the Procar championship at the end of 1980.

The cars were sold off to various privateers, who competed around the globe in the cars throughout the 1980s. In 2008, ten of the cars were re-united at the German Grand Prix for a celebratory race. Lauda once again dominated proceedings in the first race while the series founder, Jochen Neerpasch, took the win during the Sunday race.

Dreaming about owning an M1 at some point? Read our buying guide, and browse the cars for sale here.

Image: BMW

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