BMW M1 Art Car At Le Mans
I was reading an article on a modern classic the BMW M1 and it got me thinking, just what vivid memories this car had given me, and without me really realising it!
When I was a youngster going to Le Mans in the late 1970s and early 1980s there were certain sights and sounds that had a lasting impression on me. For sure the fair was a massive assault on the senses! And for those who never saw the fair at this time I think it would shock you even today. There was the Rifle Range where plates were shot out of the tall trees, Strippers showing their wears, Boxers in the ring, Dwarfs in freak shows, 3 D Cinema and a whole host of other politically incorrect attractions!
The Esses at night was much more than a visual memory. Sat in the trees in the evening there was always more than the lights arcing through the trees. There was the smell of cooking frites wafting through the still night air and a mixture of sounds from the cars and rides from the fairground. All instilled in my mind for ever.
So something I had never dwelled on was just how little knowledge I had of what was happening out on the track. There was scarcely any English commentary on the PA system, and I had little idea of the what all the classes and marques were. I have since realised I was entertained by the sheer thrill of the cars at speed! And this is why I got thinking about the BMW M1.
If I ever pause to remember my early 24 hour races two or three vivid images hit my mind. One is a memory of looking across the Dunlop Curve, at this time it was an incredibly fast corner, and a car that is always dead centre of my thoughts is one of the numerous Porsche 911 935 derivates. With their rear ends hunched down under power and their classic road car shape it was a car I could picture myself in one day. I loved it!
The other vivid image etched on my hard drive of a brain, is a picture of me leaning on the railings between the Esses and the entry to Tetre Rouge corner At the time this narrow spectator area was one of the highlights of the circuit. The cars used to drop down the gears before accelerating into the corner and out onto the long Mulsanne Straight. And the car that is catching the sunlight as it screams into my sight is the BMW M1..... Gosh it sounded and looked so good. It was on the bedroom wall of so many young lads at the time, but I was lucky enough to see it in its glory and at full chat. But much more than that I was privileged enough to have my ears burnt by it! Wow what a memory!