I became unusually excited at the appearance of BMW’s retro M1 Homage. It wasn’t the reassuringly sharkish demeanour, the iconic ‘M’ initial, or the fact - like the uber-cool original - it was named after our first motorway. No, one word popped into my head that hasn’t been mumbled since the early ‘80s: Procar.
This probably doesn’t mean much to younger readers, but to those of a certain age they are two of the most evocative syllables going, triggering memories of a golden age of mucking around on race tracks in fabulously costly supercars.
Determined to justify the development spend that had gone into creating the M1– a sort of Germano-Italian soap opera that had involved a dalliance with cash-strapped Lamborghini – BMW created the ultimate support series for the 1979 and 1980 Formula One seasons.
The ingredients were simple enough: identical M1s with a testosterone-fuelled mix of proper F1 racers and rich privateers behind their wheels. And as an aperitif to the main event it was utterly intoxicating, and really quite mad: three abreast into corners, massive offs and spectacular overtaking moves.
Hence today’s brilliant idea: let’s bring it back. Get BMW to knock up a couple of dozen of the M1 concept, invite the current F1 grid to prove they have some kind of personality beneath the logo-clad overalls and let’s find out who’s the real deal. I reckon that new, improved version should even allow incompetent motoring hacks like myself to take part for maximum ‘mobile chicane’ potential.
Can you imagine the sound of splintered glassfibre as Kimi and Lewis pile into a slow corner side-by-side? Or the chaos that could be caused by a desperate-to-impress Kazuki Nakijima trying to put a lap on Jay Kay in the wet at Spa?
My only other proviso – and this is essential to the success of the whole venture – is that all the drivers will be compelled to have 1970s haircuts and to wear overalls embroidered with slogans along the lines of James Hunt’s infamous “Sex: the breakfast of champions.”
I’d watch it – wouldn’t you?