BMW M Motorsport has taken the veils off its latest race car, the M4 GT3. It is currently in the final phase of testing (it has racked up over 14,000 km of test kilometres to date; equivalent to 70 hours of track time), after which it will make its racing debut on June 26 at the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
The new M4 GT3 replaces the M6 GT3, and the numbers it makes are pretty impressive. Power comes from a motorsports-special P58 3.0 litre straight-six engine (basically an uprated S58 mill) with M TwinPower Turbo, capable of delivering up to 590 hp and 700 Nm.
This makes it the most powerful race car engine since the days of the BMW M1 in Group 5 racing. The older M6 GT3 race car had a P63 4.4 litre V8 that makes up to 580 hp. Using a six-pot over a V8 mill shaves off 40 kg, making for better weight distribution.
Installation of the P58 mill is tilted to a specific angle, and the engine itself is modified with dry sump lubrication, new crankcase, cylinder head, connecting rods, crankshaft and crankshaft drive. There’s also engine-mounted oil tank with integrated oil/water exchanger, intake system with charge split and two throttle valves, exhaust system with charge cycle split, GT3-specific engine mount and attachments, and a new electro-hydraulic clutch.
Besides offering better driveability, BMW M Motorsport said the P58 engine is more cost efficient to run in the long term. Maintenance intervals for the engine and Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox are now longer, so the cost per lifecycle of these components is lower.
Configuring the basic setup of the engine and transmission is also easier – all one has to do is use the steering wheel instead of plugging it into a laptop every single time. By the way, the M4 GT3’s steering wheel, which was developed in collaboration with Fanatec, is the first steering wheel in the world that can be used in both a real race car and a driving simulator without requiring any modifications whatsoever.
Other than Fanatec, its partners include Akrapovic for the exhaust, Endless for brakes, H&R and KW Automotive for suspension components, Schaeffler, and Shell for lubricants.
The design of the M4 GT3 is quite striking, if not again controversial. The full-height kidney grille from the 4 Series and M4 is retained, but hollowed in the centre for maximum air flow. There are also L-shaped LED light clusters below the headlamps, and the roof features two longitudinal fins to guide airflow.
Towards the back, you’ll notice the thicker haunches (each side is widened by 75 mm!) that are as wide as the massive GT wing. The LED tail lights and bootlid, meanwhile, are carried over from the road car, though the bumper is completely new and features a massive diffuser as well.
The FIA-compliant cabin has been stripped bare, and there is a new air-conditioning system that is twice as powerful as the older M6 GT3. The steering wheel position, pedals, and centre console can be adjust to suit drivers of a variety of drivers.
Want one for your racing team? The price per unit is 415,000 euros (RM2 million), or about 4,000 euros (RM20k) less than its predecessor, the M6 GT3. A separate Competition Package can be specified as well, which comes with an exclusive training day in an in-house BMW M4 GT3 simulator.
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