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Built to Race—The BMW M1 Turns 40

The idea of the M1 became official in September 1975, when Jochen Neerpasch, head of BMW Motorsport GmbH presented the strategy of BMW Motorsports to the board of the BMW. A part of that strategy involved motorsports with production cars, which in the 1970s, had gained enormous popularity among drivers and spectators alike.

Jochen Neerpasch

The brains behind this strategy at this time were Jochen Neerpasch, Paul Rosche and Martin Braungart. It was their goal to develop a competition vehicle which, with minor modifications, would qualify for the FIA Groups 1 – 5, and which would be competitive for many years to come. In order for this strategy to succeed, it would have to be a vehicle the design of which had all the inherent characteristics of a race car, and would not have to be modified to become such. This was the route pursued in the development of the BMW M1 (E 26) by the Motorsport GmbH. The original design was of an uncompromising racecar, which in a second stage would be modified for regular road use, and to provide a basis for the production of 400 cars as required for homologation.

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