BMW M1 #61 – Spark

M1 #61
1980 BMW M1 
Pilots: R. Ennequin, M. Gabriel, F. Gasparetti 
Team: Total 
Race: 18th overall (3rd in Group 5 class) at Le Mans in 1982 
Spark - S1585 (resin) 

Published 06/10/18

The M1 was produced from 1979 to 1981, and was BMW’s first mass-produced mid-engined car. Designed by Giugiaro, it was an homologation special for sports car racing, and a total of 453 cars produced. Of these, 20 were race versions created for the BMW M1 Procar Championship. Later on, quite a few found their way to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. powering the M1 was a 3453 cm³ inline-6 (M88/1) with DOHC and 24 valves. In race trim, it was capable of 470 hp. However, compared to its main rival, the Porsche 935, the M1 was heavy, lacked power and had dismal reliability. In truth, engine failure was a too common occurrence. During its service life, the car competed at Le Mans over a span of eight years. With a total of 21 cars qualified for race, only seven actually finished it.

Group 5 and it’s “card box fairings” cars.

Total is a French multinational oil and gas company, one of the seven so-called “super major” oil companies. At La Sarthe in 1982, team Total had only one car in the race, the M1 #61 (chassis ##WBS59910004301059). The M1 #61 , though starting out in the 29th position, did a steady race and reached 11th place, but a crankshaft problem and later on a whole gearbox rebuild forced it back to 18th, and was the last car to qualify.

M1 #61
Do I look fat?

In model form fortunately the car is a winner. As expected, it’s quite better than my Minichamps version, and with an overall very crisp detail level. But what really makes me like the car is the boxy body. In contrast, it’s a far cry from the more svelte and elegant lines of my München M1. Nice model, without a doubt, but I guess this one is only for the Le Mans nut.

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