BMW launched a new generation of its M4 for 2021, and soon the luxury sport coupe will spawn a GT3-spec racing variant.
BMW’s motorsport division completed the first rollout test of the M4 GT3 in Dingolfing, Germany, last summer and since then the engineers have been putting the car through its paces at various racetracks across Europe. Almost 40,000 miles have been covered, which equates to more than 60 hours on the track.
The M4 GT3 has been developed alongside its road-going sibling, but it won’t be ready for a while still. It has some testing ahead of it, including in actual races, before the start of deliveries in time for the 2022 motorsport season—when new regulations are due to be introduced for GT3 competition.
One of the rules deals with vehicle platforms for homologation. It allows for race cars derived from vehicles that use platforms originally developed for cars with more than two doors, as is the case for the CLAR platform found in the latest 4-Series family. Under the old rules, a race car based on the M4 wouldn’t have been allowed.
Power in the M4 GT3 comes from a version of the S58 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 fitted to the latest M3 and M4, as well as the X3 M and X4 M performance crossovers. The transmission is a sequential unit. In the M4 road car (and the M3), buyers are able to choose between a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic.
BMW won’t race the M4 GT3 itself. Instead, the automaker will target customer teams looking for a competitive option for GT3 competition. BMW’s current offering in the segment is the M6 GT3.
According to BMW, the M4 GT3 has already shown improvements in maintenance effort, drivability (particularly in the wet), and ease of use compared to the M6 GT3. One of the real benefits is the ability to change most of the electronic settings in the car without the need to hook up a laptop. For instance, changes to control systems or sensors can be made on the track using controls on the steering wheel.
In addition to the M4 coupe and M4 GT3 race car, BMW is also working on an M4 Convertible. There might also be an M4 version of the 4-Series Gran Coupe this time around.