Gallery: M celebrates its 40th birthday
And TopGear.com headed to Germany to join the party… Rowan Horncastle reports
Posted: 11 Dec 2013
Unfortunately, because BMW wanted to focus on Formula One, it only lasted two years. The first champion was Niki Lauda, the second was Nelson Piquet, and today Harald is driving Piquet's car. I've been installed next to him and - because of my height - I've become part of the multi-tubular spaceframe chassis. To fit, the side of my cranium has to be fused to the top of the roll cage and my coccyx has welded to the bottom of the seat. Even if I wanted to complain, I can't because the cabin is so ridiculously loud. It's completely stripped and the re-worked six-cylinder M88/1 engine reverberates with astonishing volume so precludes any conversation. But Harald, like our own tame racing driver, doesn't seem that bothered.
The race car, obviously, is a completely different beast to the road-going version. The transmission, while still within the ZF casing, has multiple gear ratios and its own oil cooler. The suspension is uprated and has adjustable anti-roll bars, there are lighter brakes and all servos and power assistance have disappeared for the sake of weight.
These were race cars driven by real men. Give Harald a quick search in the Google picture machine and you'll see that he's a man that doesn't go by half measures on the track.