INTERVIEW: We Speak with Jochen Neerpasch, the Founder of BMW M
In case you haven’t heard, this year commemorates the 50th anniversary of BMW M. On the M Division’s birthday, there is no better person to speak with than
In case you haven’t heard, this year commemorates the 50th anniversary of BMW M. On the M Division’s birthday, there is no better person to speak with than the guy who founded it all–Jochen Neerpasch.
We got the opportunity to sit down and chat with Neerpasch at the 2022 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, where BMW M has some of its most renowned vehicles on exhibit. We spoke about BMW M’s origins, history, and future plans. Neerpasch is regarded as the inventor of the M Division, so we were naturally excited to speak with him and learn how the most renowned letter in the car industry came to be.
From the Ford to the BMW
Jochen Neerpasch was a very successful manager for Ford’s racing business before becoming the eventual creator of BMW M. Neerpasch was a huge success at Ford, where he was instrumental in producing the popular Ford Capri RS. That domination at Ford piqued the interest of BMW, which wanted to establish its own racing outfit on the European Touring Car scene. As a result, BMW snatched Neerpasch from Ford.
“It was the end of January. “One evening, I received an unexpected phone call from [BMW board member] Bob Lutz,” Neerpasch said. “At the time, I was Ford’s competition manager, and we built the Capri  RS, which was quite successful, winning the German championship and beating the BMW coupés.” So Bob Lutz contacted and asked if I was still interested. They sought to consolidate BMW Motorsport operations.”
Neerpasch was first hesitant to join Lutz and BMW. BMW’s racing program was a shambles at the time, and it was left to tuners like ALPINA and AC Schnitzer. Furthermore, Neerpasch and his considerably lighter Ford Capris were crushing BMW’s automobiles. So why join a losing team?
“My second response was that this may be an opportunity to start an independent racing organization and leverage the race expertise for high performance vehicles,” he said. “Then I traveled to Munich the following day.”
That’s where Neerpasch first met Bob Lutz, with whom he discussed a possible future and arranged an agreement. After alerting his previous supervisor, he was obligated to stay at Ford until May 24, 1973, which is why BMW M was legally established as a registered GmbH on May 24, 1973.
The CSL 3.0
When Neerpasch initially arrived at BMW M, he was really on the ground floor. There were no offices, teams, drivers, or mechanics. Martin Brown and, more notably, Paul Rosche, BMW M’s engine guy, joined at that time. Hans-Joachim Stuck was one of the team’s original drivers, and the vehicle Neerpasch started working on first was the iconic BMW 3.0 CSL. However, things did not begin as well as they had intended.
Neerpasch and his crew were bringing a new type of racing, with fresh, forward-thinking ideas, and the old-school officials at BMW AG didn’t like it. There was also conflict between the tuners, who had previously had contracts from BMW AG, as well as large sums of money, to go racing, and BMW, which now had its own motorsport section for racing and components, which affected those tuners’ business. Despite opposition from tuners and resistance from Munich suits, BMW M was able to establish itself and create and deploy a new racing vehicle in only eight months.
BMW M was successful with the 3.0 CSL, but it was becoming too costly to make a racing car out of a road vehicle, and Neerpasch desired a car that was designed from the bottom up to be both a racing car and a road car, which is how the renowned BMW M1 project started. The BMW M1 was designed by Neerpasch to be utilized in a variety of motorsport sports, including rally racing and both Group 4 and Group 5 Touring championships.
The BMW M1 Could Have Been A Porsche 911
As you may be aware, the M1 finally failed and never competed in many competitions, with the exception of its own single-car M1 Procar series. However, Neerpasch is still bothered by the fact that when he left BMW M in 1980, BMW was ready for Formula 1, therefore the suits in Munich lost interest in the M1. “However, I believe that if the M1 had been improved year after year, it might have become like the 911 for Porsche.” Consider a BMW M1 that has been constantly refined through generations to be a perpetual Porsche 911 adversary.
It’s incredible to believe that what began as a ramshackle company with no headquarters and a workforce assembled apparently overnight could grow into the performance automobile behemoth that it is today. Jochen Neerpasch is one of the persons most responsible for BMW M’s current success, and speaking with him on the 50th anniversary of the brand he founded was an honor.
The Boys Greatest Powers Is Love
It’s no secret that, with a few notable exceptions, the supes in The Boys are a group of conceited, entitled, and egotistical individuals who will do everything to further their personal agendas. Their abilities come from Compound V, a mixture created to offer people the ability to achieve things that normal people cannot, but love is a more potent motivating factor that gives the story its core. The majority find their views anchored in love, or at least what they think to be love in some circumstances, whether it’s from members of the eponymous group or the supes themselves. The series wouldn’t have as much heart overall without this unadulterated feeling, and it would no longer rise above the level of being a demonstration of violence and evil schemes.
Our screens are immediately bombarded with messages about love. In the first episode, Hughie (Jack Quaid) is introduced with his devoted girlfriend Robin (Jess Salgueiro), but she is soon killed by an irresponsible A-Train (Jessie T. Usher). As he swears revenge for her passing and sets out on his mission to stop the supes, Hughie’s love for Robin emerges as his motivation and the catalyst for his entire arc. Naturally, Hughie soon develops feelings for Starlight (Erin Moriarty), and this love feeds his fire to stop the evil Seven from causing destruction everywhere they go. Now, he wants to do everything he can to support her, keep her safe, and ultimately, save her. Hughie’s love for her pushes him to go to depths he never dreamed he’d go, despite her persistent insistence that she doesn’t need saving. He starts injecting V-24 so he can fight back against individuals who mistreat other people. On the surface, it appears that he uses it selfishly and rejects Starlight’s warnings to quit putting himself in danger, but in his heart, he is acting in her best interests out of love.
In terms of selfishness, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) is probably the most maniacal character on the show, ranking right up there with Homelander (Antony Starr), yet he has done everything for his wife, Becca, out of love for her (Shantel VanSanten). As payback for Homelander’s sexual assault of Becca, which he believes caused her death, he initially starts looking for the supes. He makes every effort to locate her after learning that she is still alive, but sadly, their reunion is brief because she perishes as a result of Ryan’s (Cameron Crovetti) deadly blast sent at Stormfront (Aya Cash). Butcher’s troubles are far from over, as he now has a new task to complete. Ryan’s safety was Becca’s final request. This pledge is what ultimately leads to maybe the best illustration of love triumphing over all. In the Season 3 finale, Butcher is finally given the opportunity to eliminate Homelander with the aid of Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), but she refuses to do so in order to preserve Ryan. His ultimate objective has been to kill Homelander from the beginning, but the strength of love comes through as he defies it to carry out Becca’s request. This deed demonstrates Billy Butcher’s heart, despite the moments when it seemed like he only cared about himself.
The protagonists are occasionally motivated by platonic love or familial love rather than romantic love. Homelander is undoubtedly not the first person who springs to mind when considering love, as he frequently behaves selfishly. He has, on a few rare occasions, though, displayed a more tender side to his character. Ryan, Homelander’s kid, is the object of his devotion in the most significant way. He hasn’t always been an ideal father figure, as evidenced by the moment where he pushes Ryan over the roof, but there have been times when Antony Starr has successfully portrayed a caring father. For instance, in the most recent season finale, Homelander rushes to save Ryan when he is hurt by Soldier Boy, placing himself in danger without thinking twice. Given how narcissistic Homelander has always been, it is a little surprising to realize that he is also capable of love. Homelander has occasionally displayed emotional sensitivity, but his love for Ryan compels him to prevent his son from going through the same suffering he did as a child growing up without a father.
Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), who is trying everything in his power to stop Soldier Boy, is another example of the extent to which a father can go in order to defend his family. After learning that Soldier Boy killed MM’s family, MM is now determined to stop it from occurring to his new family, particularly his daughter. In addition to abhorring everything supes stand for, he is outraged that Todd (Matthew Gorman), a rabid supe enthusiast, is raising his daughter. MM frequently finds himself facing up against strong supers armed with weapons he knows are inadequate to stop his enemies while well conscious of the risky scenarios he is placing himself in.
Out of genuine love for his daughter, he nevertheless continues to take the threat head-on. This is one of the few instances where love isn’t tainted by ego or used as a justification for moral relativism. This is demonstrated by the fact that Hughie and Butcher take V-24 without hesitation, but MM stands by his principles and declines to grant himself superhuman abilities. He is aware of the risks it poses, and he would rather fail while attempting to protect those he loves than give his daughter a negative example.
Even though the Boys universe is filled with gunfire, explosions, and bloodshed, if you look closely, you can see that love permeates everything. It appears in a variety of ways and is frequently combined with other feelings, but it dominates everything else and gives the series the heart it needs to stand out as a truly significant program.
Taika Waititi Would Return for Thor 5 on One Condition
Thor: Love and Thunder, the latest feature picture from Marvel Studios, is now in theaters! The sequel, directed by Chris Hemsworth, reunited numerous cast members from previous Thor films, including, but not limited to, Dr. Jane Foster, who discovers she can wield Thor’s hammer Mjölnir, which provides her superpowers. Taika Waititi was back in charge as director. Thor’s character was revitalized by the New Zealand filmmaker in 2017’s Ragnarok.
If you watch Thor 4’s end credits all the way through, you’ll notice not only the conventional post-credit scene, but also a single but significant message: “Thor will return.” Now, no new Thor solo film has been revealed, nor has Hemsworth been confirmed to appear in any upcoming MCU production. However, the actor has previously claimed that he is eager to reprise his role as the character.
What about Waititi, though? Will he return to direct the third installment of the Thor franchise?
Waititi Talks About a Possible Thor 5
Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi spoke to Insider about his reaction to the “Thor will return” message at the end of the film, stating that he was initially unaware of its inclusion.
“So, guess what? That surprised me as well. I’m not kidding. I saw it in the theater and thought, “Oh my god. Really?” “What?” Chris exclaimed. But, of course, he’ll return. He’s the most interesting character. I mean, I may be biased, but he’s the most entertaining to watch.”
Waititi also talked about what it would take for him to make another Thor picture. He added one specific requirement: Chris Hemsworth must also return.
I’m not sure what happens next. I would definitely participate, but only if Chris did. But it would have to be something unexpected and surprising for me to want to do it. What, for example, would be the new perspective? The fights and combat are good, but when it comes to the story, I’d want something unexpected. As if you were filming a $5 million film with no combat at all, just Thor on a road trip. Like “Nebraska,”
There are numerous ways in which the next Thor film might be unexpected and unforeseen. Taika Waititi, who does not appear to be one to rest on his laurels, would most likely want to continue pushing the boundaries of what Thor and his film franchise can be.
Prior to Thor: Ragnarok, the character was a stoic warrior with the occasional wisecrack or amusing quip. For Hemsworth, this attitude had become so monotonous that he was considering leaving the part. Waititi brought his signature wacky, irreverent comic flair to the franchise when he joined. Love and Thunder is very much in the same style, and may even have increased the comic factor.
The director is certainly a fan of Thor, as indicated by his comments above. Saying “He’s the best character” is excellent praise, especially considering how many other wonderful Marvel characters there are. Taika Waititi listing Hemsworth’s participation as a supposedly hard and fast criteria for him to make another film says a lot. But the two get along well, and Waititi looks to know how to get the greatest performance out of the actor.
It should be noted that Waititi had previously been tight-lipped regarding his role in a possible sequel. He appears to have softened his tone after making those remarks.
As for the promise that the character will return, it’s curious that Marvel would include that without first consulting with Waititi or Hemsworth, but as the former stated, “of course he’ll be back.” After all, as previously stated, Hemsworth has stated his willingness to reprise his role as the Asgardian god of thunder.
Why Taika Waititi Limited the Guardians in Thor 4
Following the theatrical release of Thor: Love and Thunder, reviews from fans and critics have been varied in terms of its comic tone and the disproportionate screentime given to its all-star cast. While some audience members wished for more of Natalie Portman’s Mighty Thor and Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher, others felt that some characters, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, were underutilized.
Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, first met the Guardians of the Galaxy in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, shortly after Thanos killed Heimdall and Loki.
The connection between Thor and the Guardians team was one of the film’s best crossover moments, and Thor travels to Nidavellir alongside Rocket Raccoon (aka “Sweet Rabbit”) and Groot in search of a Thanos-killing weapon.
When Thor chooses to join the Guardians at the end of Avengers: Endgame, many fans anticipated an As-guardians of the Galaxy project or more of this successful crossover before Thor: Love and Thunder. Unfortunately, that is not what occurred.
Reality vs. Expectation
The rest of this article includes Thor: Love and Thunder spoilers.
Fans were naturally pleased to learn that the Guardians of the Galaxy would play a role in Thor: Love and Thunder, given their interactions in both Infinity War and Endgame.
People had yet to see Thor or Star-Lord and company in Phase 4, and because early promotion for Love and Thunder emphasized Thor’s hilarious encounters with Star-Lord, audiences expected these bits and exchanges to be only the tip of the comedic, cosmic iceberg.
However, the majority of what was revealed in the Thor 4 trailers and TV advertisements was the extent of the Guardians’ role in the film.
Due to the casting of Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, and Russell Crowe in the project, few expected the Guardians to be a part of the entire film due to its already crowded call sheet. Few expected the funny ragtag group to be reduced to background characters with less to say than the unremarkable alien ruler who gave Thor his screaming goats.
Why Did Thor 4 Require More Star-Lord?
Before the Guardians parted ways with Thor, each member of the cast had a brief exchange of words, with only Star-Lord having a genuine chat with the film’s star.
Even though Quill was essential in lowering Thor’s emotional shields and choosing love over heartache, the situation of their own relationship lacked context.
Quill certainly feels the urge to compete with the God of Thunder in Infinity War. Their final scene in Endgame seems to lay the setting for a comedic power struggle about who is in charge of the crew.
However, in Love and Thunder, while Thor is still seeking for dominance, Quill appears to have surrendered himself to Thor’s pranks and passively tolerates him.
Again, this is a 180-degree turn from Infinity War and Endgame, where Quill was starving for recognition. Clearly, their dynamic has shifted, but that shift is never articulated. It not only denies the audience that amusing relationship, but also the potential to relate back to previous MCU flicks.
Also, given Gorr’s danger to all gods, it’s strange that Quill wasn’t brought in for that phase of the plot. Quill did give up his godlike abilities in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but given his heritage, he had a chance to contribute to the tale.
Why Did Thor 4 Require More Rockets?
Thor and Rocket formed a humorous, unusual team in Avengers: Infinity War. And, despite his own troubles, Rocket counseled Thor through Infinity War and Endgame, and even supplied the God of Thunder with a new eye.
But, other from a few quips in Love and Thunder, there was no catch-up between Thor and his “Sweet Rabbit,” which was especially odd given their previous personal encounters. In fact, it would have made more sense for Rocket to be Thor’s voice of reason rather than Star-Lord.
Why Did Thor 4 Need More Groot?
While Thor’s armory has always been an important part of his saga, Love and Thunder established that both his hammer Mjolnir and his new ax Stormbreaker are sentient.
Given Stormbreaker’s jealousy of Mjolnir in Thor 4, and the ax serving as a MacGuffin for the film’s third act, it’s remarkable that Groot was never reintroduced or even mentioned after sacrificing his arm to build Stormbreaker’s handle.
And, while Rocket and Thor had the closest relationship in the most recent Avengers films, Groot was along for the trip. Plus, Thor is one of the only characters who understands Groot!
Why Did Taika Waititi Restrict the Guardians in Thor 4?
When asked if there was a version of Thor: Love and Thunder with more Guardians, director Taika Waititi admitted that there was.
The following is the director’s statement:
“The plan was always to have one at the start and then move one. Because they have their own feature film. There was talk of having them return at the conclusion.”
Waititi felt that returning as a source of reinforcements would have been too repetitive and preferred Jane instead, saying:
“The issue is, it happens in every film. No more. There will be no more cavalry at the end. So we put that notion on the back burner. We only wanted Jane to enter at the end.”
Waititi has a valid point. Someone will swoop in at the last second to change the tide at a hero’s darkest moment, when all hope is lost, according to a long-standing trope in cinema and television.
The issue here is that Waititi created the very cliche he stated he intended to avoid, and he also stated that the Guardians were substituted out because they wanted Jane.
Was the decision appropriate for the story being told?
Absolutely. However, by electing not to employ the Guardians at this point in the film, their brief appearance at the beginning of the film feels less significant and more like an obligation.
While the film confirmed that the Guardians would travel to other planets to assist them in their grief over the loss of their gods, the lack of the MCU’s cosmic, comedic team appearing in any of that on-screen action – or even bothering to check in on their buddy Thor – makes their limited screentime all the more noticeable.
How Thor 4 Affects Infinity War, Endgame, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
The issue now is that Thor’s team-up with the Guardians in Endgame will not have the same impact or enthusiasm as it had in Love and Thunder.
Because Thor’s time with the crew barely moved the needle on his own voyage and finished as swiftly as it began, it will appear as an useless detour or hiatus rather than an exciting next chapter in the God of Thunder’s adventure.
While Guardians director James Gunn has kept the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 under wraps, many expected Love and Thunder to handle some of the post-Endgame labor, allowing Vol. 3 to dive directly into its own tale.
Apart from Star-Lord mentioning his anguish for Gamora’s death, there was no mention of his desire to find her Variant (which is something Endgame seemingly laid the groundwork for).
Not only will Vol. 3 need to revisit that story point, but so will Thor’s departure from the Avengers and the Guardians’ assistance to planets that lost their gods in Thor 4. It’s almost as if they were assigned tasks to complete rather than adding to this story.
Overall, Marvel Studios granting creative flexibility to filmmakers and writers is a good thing for filmmaking, storytelling, and the Marvel brand. However, it can also be detrimental.
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe laid the scenario for the Guardians of the Galaxy to have an impact on Thor Odinson’s saga, Taika clearly did not want that to happen. He preferred a Jane Foster story.
Looking at Thor: Love and Thunder through the lens of the Thor franchise, Taika’s judgment is sound. The problem is that he’s much bigger than that.
Thor is a prominent protagonist in the larger cinematic universe, and he was coupled with an ensemble cast whose characters played important roles in Thor’s voyage in one of the biggest crossover blockbusters in cinema history.
Ignoring that, as well as the Guardians’ only capability for humor and action in the cosmos, explains why their little roles in Love and Thunder were not only unsettling but also a waste.
If there’s one thing Thor: The Dark World did better than Thor: Love and Thunder, it’s that the first Thor sequel included events from both 2011’s Thor and 2012’s The Avengers into its plot.
Aside from a training montage and the presence of Stormbreaker, Thor 4 appears to have had no interest in continuing or resolving storylines introduced in Endgame.
Yes, Thor: Love and Thunder is a Thor film and a Taika Waititi film, but it has little interest in being an MCU feature, except from a few Easter eggs.
Thor: The Dark World is currently in theaters.
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