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.