1981 BMW M1 “München”
Pilots: C. Danner, P. Oberndorfer, L. van Bayern
Team: Marko RSM
Race: DNF (Group 4 class) at Le Mans in 1981
Minichamps - 430812571 (diecast)
The idea for the M1 came from the BMW Turbo Concept, back in 1972. In the late 70’s BMW created a racing division and the M1 (code name E26) was their first project. The main reason for the project was to homologate the car for racing and to have a model that could compete with Porsche, especially at Le Mans. The body was designed by none other than Giorgetto Giugiaro, while the chassis would be designed by Dallara, and the engine would be designed and built by Lamborghini. Since Lamborghini was having financial issues (like bankruptcy), BMW took over the engine project, and created the M88/1 engine. The M88/1 was an inline-6 with 3497 cm³, DOHC and with 24 valves, tamed by a 5-speed manual gearbox. All in all the M1 was produced from 1978 to 1981, and a total of 453 cars were produced.
After 1971 Le Mans-winner Helmut Marko retired from racing. In 1981 he founded Marko RSM to race in the World Endurance Championship, and for the 1981 24 Heures du Mans he lined up a M1 (chassis ##WBS59910004301036). Unfortunately, even though piloted by royalty (Prince Leopold of Bavaria) the car wasn’t very lucky, and in the 49th lap it had to abandon due to a crankshaft damper failure. Because of it’s sui generis quasi-art car livery, car #71 became known as the “München M1”.
The München is a nice model, basically like one of my Vipers. However, because of its age (as it’s common with older Minichamps), decals are yellowing 😣. I guess this is one of those cases where the subject matter is more interesting than the model or actual car.