UPDATE: A previous version of this post specified the incorrect weight target for the M6 GT3. The text below has been updated with the correct information.

BMW may not compete at the top level at Le Mans or in the World Rally Championship, it may have withdrawn from Formula One and shuttered the Formula BMW series, but it's not without its racing programs. Aside from the Minis that dominate the Dakar Rally, BMW fields the M4 in DTM, the M235i Racing in the BMW Sports Trophy and the Z4 in GT3 competitions around the world. But now it's preparing to launch a new GT3 racer based on the M6.

Currently undergoing development, BMW has presented its new M6 GT3 prototype at its factory in Dingolfing, Germany. Based on the road-going M6 coupe, the GT3 retains its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine with dry-sump lubrication, producing over 500 horsepower – which is actually less than the road-going model you can buy, but has to be restricted to meet FIA certification.

At less than 3,000 pounds, it is a fair bit lighter than the production version, and promises to deliver blistering performance figures to whichever privateer teams buy one to enter in racing series around the world. The M6 GT3 is slated to hit the circuits next year, when it will join the lineup alongside the M6 coupe, M6 convertible and M6 Gran Coupe, to say nothing of the M6 safety car used in MotoGP.

In a related development, BMW Blog reports that the Bavarian automaker is probing potential interest in bringing the M235i Racing to North America. The entry-level model in the BMW Motorsports range, the M235i Racing sells in Europe for the equivalent of $68,000.

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The next milestone: the BMW M6 GT3 is rolled out at the BMW premises in Dingolfing.

Munich (DE), 5th February 2015. BMW's new figurehead for the GT racing scene has been given its first run: last Saturday, the test track on the premises of the BMW factory in Dingolfing (DE) provided the stage for the roll-out of the BMW M6 GT3, with which BMW teams will compete in national and international series, as well as at iconic endurance races, from 2016 onwards. The car left the garage for the first time at precisely 14:00 with Jörg Müller (DE) at the wheel. This gave the BMW works driver the honour of creating the next milestone in the development of the BMW M6 GT3.

"This is a big moment for everyone who has worked so intensely and passionately on the development of the BMW M6 GT3 in recent months," said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. "This car incorporates all the experience we have gained in recent years on the endurance and GT racing circuits. We are well on schedule with the development, and are confident we will be able to take to the track in 2016 with a package that is competitive from the outset. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who has been involved with this fantastic project."

Müller was thrilled with his outing in Dingolfing: "It is a fantastic moment when you walk into the garage and see this stunningly beautiful car. I am very proud to have taken it out for its first few kilometres. A roll-out is obviously just an initial performance test but, on the whole, everything was very good and we had no problems. The engine really impressed me. It is powerful and has good torque, which is important for a car like this. I am confident that BMW Motorsport will provide its customers with a fantastic racing car, in the BMW M6 GT3."

The development of the BMW M6 GT3 is progressing according to plan. It is powered by a 4.4-litre V8 M TwinPower Turbo production engine, which has been the subject of modifications for its use on the racetrack. It has dry sump lubrication and generates over 500 hp, with a total car weight of less than 1,300 kilograms. Further features of the BMW M6 GT3 include the transaxle drive concept, a six-speed sequential racing transmission, and powerful motorsport electronics. The chassis' aerodynamic properties were optimised in the BMW wind tunnel.

The BMW M6 Coupé provides an ideal basis, on which the BMW Motorsport engineers have worked meticulously to hone the BMW M6 GT3 for use in motor racing. Priority was given to ensuring the drivers are as safe as physically possible. To offer the drivers of the BMW M6 GT3 as much protection as possible against injury, BMW Motorsport itself developed and produced the FIA-approved safety cell, which complies with the very latest safety standards. The engineers also placed great emphasis on efficiency, ease of maintenance and reliability, which is particularly crucial at the 24-hour classics.

Anyone interested in purchasing a BMW M6 GT3 can send an E-mail to M6GT3@bmw-motorsport.com. They will then be registered and be the first to hear any new information about the car. Enquiries from North America are to be sent by E-mail to M6GT3NA@bmw-motorsport.com.

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