The story behind BMW’s first mid-engined supercar

In the 1970s, Porsche’s 911 dominated the international racing scene, and the Stuttgart engineers proudly represented what Germany had to offer in automotive competition on the track and in the showroom. Yet three hours to the southwest, Porsche’s Bavarian brothers at BMW sought to build Munich’s answer to Group 5 racing: the BMW M1. However, the brand’s creation was plagued by production turbulence and ended up essentially useless for what it was designed to achieve.

Why build a mid-engine supercar?

The BMW M1, once owned by Boney M, seen at Salon Prive, held at Blenheim Palace.  Every year some of the rarest cars are displayed in the palace gardens at the UK's most exclusive Concours d'Elegance.
bmw m1 | Martyn Lucy/Getty Images

BMW’s motorsports division, headed by Jochen Neerpasch, emphasized a mid-engine layout for the Group 5 car to outperform its competitors. Paul Rosche, who would go on to design the 6.1-litre V12 in the McLaren F1, was called in to create the M88/1 engine for his racing car, the BMW M1.

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