• Jul 15, 2008


Click above to watch the E92 M3 race car in action

The previous generation M3 had a short but dominant history in the American Le Mans Series. Competing in the 2001 season with a 4.0-liter V8, the M3 GTR decimated the GT (now GT2) class. Porsche cried foul, citing a lack of an "authentic" V8-powered M3 production car. Despite a small run of V8 M3s to satisfy regulations, the ALMS changed the rules so that BMW had to either produce 1000 road cars or face weight and intake restrictions. BMW decided it wasn't worth it and didn't return for the 2002 season. But with introduction of the E92 M3, BMW is free to race with a V8 unrestricted and announced their racing program in cooperation with Rahal Letterman Racing, as well as unveiling a new racecar at the Chicago Auto Show this year. We haven't heard much about the car since then, but BMW Motorsport released a video showing some pretty awesome footage of the car on track. It's design is aggressively beautiful, and we can't wait to see it rub fenders with Porsche and Ferrari next year in GT2. Follow the jump to watch the video or adorn your desktop with the gallery of images below.

[Source: YouTube]



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  • 22 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      very cool
      • 6 Years Ago
      Absolutely incredible; the car looks and sounds great. Its front end looks a little different from the show car, but I think it's a change for the better. I can't wait to see this running in GT2.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hope this new one spits as many flames as the previous car. That was a sight to be hold... the flamethrower that car became when entering the festival curves at Portland Intl. Raceway. Amazing and beautiful.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow. Looks and sounds great.

      I'm sure BMW's not the first to come up with this, but I don't ever recall seeing "spoilers" (is that the right word) like those on the bottom corners of the front bumpers. I see they've got them layered, 3 of them should produce close to three times the downforce of just one. Wonder why we don't see rear spoilers that are layered similarly, it should be significantly more effective.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Those are called "dive planes" and are fairly common in the prototype classes. You'll also see them on the front and rear of the Audis and Mercedes in the DTM series.
        • 6 Years Ago
        There would be too much down force for the straights probably.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I guess it goes without saying that I don't follow racing. Dive planes. Learn something new everyday.

        Thanks, Bob.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Remember FIA GT rules are changing big time next year, and we will see the all conquering C6R's gone, and the Aston's too. There will be some sort of performance balancing and the 7.0 Corvettes, Vipers, AM , MC-12, etc. will be gone. It will be similar to the current GT-2 rules with all GT's under 5.5 Litres. Remember the base Vette is 6.3 litres and the base Viper 8.0 litres. Astons are 6.0 to 6.6. I"m guessing you will see some sort of 5.3 Vette if they stay, and the same size Aston Vantage not DBR9. Big, big changes are coming to the ALMS and European FIA GT series. The Vettes just chased everyone away and they have so many weight and engine handicaps now that it's time to start over.
      • 6 Years Ago
      aha,if I drove it on the road,many eyes would focus on.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They had the car at the BMW stand at Lime Rock this weekend. Looks great.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It looks cool. I can finally stop booing them when they roll onto the track, now that they actually HAVE a V8 3 series available for sale ( They have been "cheating" in ALMS since the year 2000 running a car with a 3 series V8 in competition even though no such production car existed ).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Todd: According to ALMS rules displacement matters & GM was given a break so they could provide a better show against the Viper.

        LS2/7: BMW M3's (both the factory team & Tom Millner's) ran for points (unlike the "banned" MC12 that ran in GT1 two years ago) so it was legal in the eyes of the ALMS & ACO. BMW pulled out when the competition waiver they had enjoyed from both groups was not renewed. BMW did not think their layout & their V6 motor would be competitive against the 911s & the Panoz GT2 class cars.

        To both of you... I'm glad BMW is returning without the controversy for 2009
        • 6 Years Ago
        What are you saying BMW never cheated, they only ran the v8 GTR's for under one season... BMW met the rules, Stuttgart got pissed and cried that they got beat in a class that highly favored them, and forced a rule change to get the v8 M3 GTR's out after 1 season. The M3's that ran after that first year were inline 6 M3's in GT2S. GT2 is owned by Porsche just like F1 is with Ferrari.

        "An E46 GTR came to life on February 2001, powered by a 4000 cc V8 producing 444 bhp (race version—street version produced 380 bhp). Unlike the straight-six powered M3 versions, which were outpaced by the Porsche 996 GT3, the racing version of the E46 M3 GTR 16 was very successful in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), entered by Schnitzer Motorsport. Rivals such as Porsche pointed out that this car was more of a prototype as no V8 engine was available in the road-going BMW E46, which is in violation of the spirit of Gran Turismo. In 2001, ALMS regulations stated that cars must be for sale on two continents within twelve months of the rules being issued. To fulfill this rule, BMW put 10 road going GTRs on sale after the 2001 season, for 250,000 euros (then $218,000) each, allegedly only available for select customers.

        Due to this, the ALMS rules were altered for 2002 to state that 100 cars and 1000 engines must be built for the car to qualify without penalties. Although BMW could have raced the V8 with the new weight and power penalties under these new regulations, they chose to pull out of the ALMS, effectively ending the shortlived M3 GTR's career."
        • 6 Years Ago
        Come on, displacement isn't the point. Corvettes have a V8, the race car has a V8. Up until now, production three series did NOT have V8s - but the race car did, there's a huge difference in Consumer perception. ( Also, eight years to develop a production V8 3 series? I am calling BS on that. )
        • 6 Years Ago
        I never boo'd BMW during their first ALMS run... any big company spending their $$$ to run a factory effort in what had become a Porsche 911 spec class... It was sad when BMW left.

        Corvette ran a 7.0L motors (to compete agaist the Viper's 8L V10) in GT1 (GTS) years before they had a production Vette with that size of "production" motor.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Fooman: I assume you are responding to Todd & LS2, but as for Porsche 911's dominating GT2 since BMW left....

        ... don't tell that to Ferrari. The 430 with Jamie Melo & Mika Salo won the 2007 Driver's championship in GT2
        • 6 Years Ago
        This beautyful beast in black... should look really badass
        • 6 Years Ago
        azzo45:
        What Chevy did was within the rules. What BMW did wasn't.

        But still, I think ALMS (IMSA) should have bent the rules to keep BMW in. Much as they did with the Maserati MC12 later. At the time this happened with BMW, ALMS was running under strict ACO rules and the ACO was not playing ball with BMW. Nowadays, IMSA variations from ACO Le Mans rules are commonplace and have really improved the level of competition in ALMS.

        Todd:
        BMW only did this for a short time, they were shut down in a bit under 1 season. There were a few M3s run since, mostly in GT2S. They never did well in GT2 with the I6.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great video and the design on this thing is just amazing. I wish street cars could look like this.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Holy Lord, it's beautiful.
        It's also being towed by a Daimler. But that's beside the point. That is a gorgeous piece of machinery.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed. Totally Badass.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please eliminate GT1 so we can force the Corvettes to try and dominate GT2.
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