The BMW M1 will participate in the Le Mans Classic event, with the original drivers from 1981 behind the wheel

After a nine-year hiatus, BMW is making a comeback at the Le Mans Classic. Alongside an exhibition, the iconic BMW M1 Group 4 will hit the Circuit de La Sarthe grid. Sporting the renowned “Munchener Wirtshaus” livery, the vehicle that competed in the 1981 race will be piloted by its original team members, which include Prince Leopold of Bavaria, Christian Danner, and Peter Oberndorfer.

In a nostalgic gathering, the drivers reunited at Munich’s Spatenhaus and Oper restaurant to recreate the pre-race publicity photo from 1981. Back then, BMW aimed to emphasize its participation in the upcoming 24-hour race and promote its racing endeavors. Just like 42 years ago, the team raised their beer steins, toasting to their collective efforts.

In addition to the Le Mans Classic reunion, Prince Leopold has an extra reason to celebrate: his 80th birthday. Expressing his anticipation, he shared, “I’m truly excited to get behind the wheel of the BMW M1 Group 4, adorned in the iconic ‘Munchener Wirtshaus’ livery, after 42 years at Le Mans. It fills me with immense pride to have my dear friends Christian Danner and Peter Oberndorfer here, allowing us to embark on this nostalgic journey together.”

Alongside the BMW M1, BMW Group Classic will present a captivating exhibition at the Museum of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Among the showcased vehicles are the victorious BMW V12 LMR from 1999, the 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL, notable for being BMW’s inaugural art car designed by Alexander Calder, and the Jeff Koons BMW M3 GT2 Art Car from 2010.

To mark the centenary of the renowned race that debuted on May 26, 1923, approximately 20 privately entered BMW racers will join this year’s Le Mans Classic. Set on the Circuit de la Sarthe, the challenging course encompasses a blend of dedicated racetracks and public roads. This annual 24-hour spectacle determines the victor based on the car that covers the greatest distance within a continuous 24-hour timeframe.

Produced from 1978 to 1981, the BMW M1 was originally designed as a race car that met homologation requirements. It marked BMW’s inaugural mid-engined sports car and served as the inaugural project of BMW’s M division. Reports circulated about a potential hybrid supercar that would succeed both the M1 and the i8. However, BMW allegedly cancelled those plans in 2020.

The BMW M1, a legendary sports car, is making its way to the Le Mans Classic event, where it will participate in the races. What makes this occasion truly special is that the original drivers from 1981 will be behind the wheel once again.

The BMW M1 holds significant historical value as BMW’s first mid-engined sports car and the first vehicle developed by BMW’s M division.

With the original drivers back in action, it promises to be a nostalgic and thrilling experience for both the participants and the spectators.



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By Ryan

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