It’s here. The M4 GT3 is the brand’s big bet in the most globally important category there is. The M4 is set to replace the M6 GT3 and potentially even the M8 in IMSA as well as see action in a number of other motorsport categories globally. And with this version of BMW’s M4 race car the brand is focusing both on performance as well as cost and ease of use.
M4 GT3 has been designed to have reduction of lifecycle costs and maintenance effort, as well as drivability for professional and amateur racing drivers, in both dry and wet conditions. In other words expect to the M4 GT3 to be a car that is both ultimately easier to drive and get more out of.
Look for this car to eventually see duty in the WEC, VLN and IMSA as that series changes course to better integrate with the WEC. Read on for the full official details.
BMW Motorsport is proud to announce the new state-of-the-art BMW M4 GT3 customer race car based on the recently launched 2021 M4 Competition Coupe. Powering the new Coupe is the P58 3.0-liter inline-6-cylinder M TwinPower Turbo engine producing up to 590 hp.
The BMW M4 GT3 will retail for $530,000 in the US (excl. shipping). The Competition Package adds $55,000 and includes additional headlights, backlit door numbers, TPMS with 8 sensors, spring and brake pedal travel measurement systems, BOSCH CAS-M rear-view camera radar system, an additional set of rims, and one day of training on the BMW M Motorsport M4 GT3 simulator.
In North America, the BMW M4 GT3 will be eligible to compete in the GT Daytona and GT Daytona Pro classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as well as the GT class of the SRO Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS and SRO GT America powered by AWS series.
“BMW of North America is preparing to welcome the BMW M4 GT3 for the 2022 racing season and support our BMW Customer Racing family behind the latest offering from BMW M Motorsport,” said Victor Leleu, BMW NA Motorsport Manager. “We have little doubt that this car will be as successful as its predecessor, the BMW M6 GT3 – most recently the IMSA GTD winner at Mid-Ohio with Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley and our friends at Turner Motorsport.”
The first international race outing for the new BMW M4 GT3 will be on June 26th, 2021 at round four of this season’s Nurburgring Endurance Series (NLS).
For information in the US please contact: BMW-M-Motorsport@bmwna.com
P58 M Powertrain
The P58 M TwinPower Turbo engine in the M4 GT3 is some 80 lbs. lighter than the 8-cylinder engine found in the BMW M6 GT3. This leads to better weight distribution. Based on the S58 found in the new M4 Competition Coupe, the M4 GT3’s engine receives additional modifications including a change in the engine’s mounting angle, a dry-sump, an engine-mounted oil tanks with integrated oil / water exchanger, intake system with charge cycle split and two throttle valves, an exhaust system with charge cycle split, GT3-spec engine mounts and rear torsional vibration dampers.
“503 hp and 479 lb-ft – this is the most powerful straight-six engine we’ve ever fitted in a production car (M4 Competition),” said Marcus Engelke, Project Manager Drivetrain, BMW M4. “590 hp and 516 lb-ft – this is the most powerful straight-six engine BMW has installed in a racing car since the days of the BMW M1 Group 5,” added Ulrich Schulz, Head of Drivetrain Design, BMW Motorsport.
The S58 found in the production M4 Competition is designed to deliver maximum performance on the track and thus serves as the perfect platform for the race unit. Carried over components include the crankcase, cylinder head, crankshaft drive, crankshaft and connecting rods.
Transmission, Wheels and Tires
The transaxle design in the new BMW M4 GT3 is a sequential, straight-tooth 6-speed gearbox which is a development of the gearbox found in the BMW M8 GTE with improvements made in run time, cost efficiency and performance.
The clutch is electro-hydraulic for lower wear and is operated by steering wheel-mounted paddles. It features stall prevention and partially-automated start-up.
Wheels measure 12.5 x 18 inches front and 13.0 x 18 inches rear. The M4 GT3 has been tested with a wide variety of race tires to make sure that it is compatible with different manufacturers used in the various race series’ around the world.
The cockpit of the new BMW M4 GT3 features the latest FIA BMW M safety seat and new air conditioning with cockpit air circulation for significantly greater efficiency and vastly improved driver comfort. The air conditioning system in the M4 GT3 is easy to maintain and is twice as powerful as the system found in the M6 GT3. The steering wheel, pedals and center console can all be adjusted. There is dimmable illumination of controls and displays and the switches are arranged ergonomically for maximum driver comfort, especially during longer endurance races.
The cockpit allows for basic configuration of many systems without the need to connect a laptop or special software. Configurable systems include preselection of charging pressure graph, selection of series-specific functions, adjustment of pit speed, selection of fuel type, system diagnosis and sensor calibration.
The new M4 GT3 Steering Wheel: Motorsport Meets SIM Racing
In a transfer of technology between real and virtual motor racing, the steering wheel in the new BMW M4 GT3 was developed jointly by BMW Motorsport and sim hardware producer FANATEC. This revolutionary wheel is the first of its kind that works both in a real car and on a simulator.
It will go on sale to sim racers in the second quarter of 2021. Parallel to FANATEC commencing sales, a documentary film on the development of the hybrid steering wheel, which combines the worlds of real and digital motor racing, will be released on the Amazon Prime streaming platform.
“The first time I heard of the idea to design the BMW M4 GT3 steering wheel to be compatible with a simulator, I was flabbergasted – because I was thrilled by the concept from the word go,” saidBMW works driver Philipp Eng, who demonstrated the steering wheel at BMW SIM Live 2020 and plays a main role in the documentary. “You have to take your hat off to the pioneering role that BMW Motorsport and FANATEC have taken on here, and to the courage to implement a project of this kind. I know the people who were involved in the development at BMW Motorsport and at FANATEC, and never doubted that they would design a superb steering wheel. It is very comfortable to hold. You can tell that real professionals have been at work in every area.”
The steering wheel includes activation of essential features such as traction control, radio, ABS, engine mapping, windshield wipers and the drink system.
The front of the new BMW M4 GT3 is highlighted by the familiar face shared with the new production M4 Competition Coupe. “The kidney grille retains the production car’s size and geometry, while its interior surfaces have been opened-up to feed the race engine’s enhanced cooling requirements.” explains Michael Scully, BMW Group Designworks Global Automotive Director.
Viewed from the side, the racing car implements the same design elements as the production car to define the bodyside.
The roof, with its two longitudinal fins, and the heavily raked rear window are also identical in form on both the BMW M4 Competition and BMW M4 GT3. These elements enable an ideal flow of air to the racing car’s rear wing.
The greatest differences between the two cars can perhaps be found at the rear. “The tail of the BMW M4 GT3 is familiar in some areas, but in others it looks very different,” said Anne Forschner, Exterior Designer BMW M4 Competition. “The racing car is 3 inches wider on each side, but we have carried over the rear lights from the production car and the rear contour of the trunk lid is also the same,” added Michael Scully.
M4 GT3 Development
“The development work on the BMW M4 GT3 is now on the finishing straight, and the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is the perfect stage on which to present the car in its BMW M Motorsport design and thus to herald the final phase leading up to the first race outings,” said Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “The new BMW M4 Competition provides the perfect basis for the BMW M4 GT3, which engine was designed from the outset for use at the racetrack. This underlines how road car and race car development always go hand in hand at BMW M GmbH. The new car offers state-of-the-art technology, thanks to our technology partners. They are among the best in their respective fields, and we are delighted to have them supporting us on the development of the BMW M4 GT3 with their specific know-how and areas of expertise. That is the perfect basis for a successful new race car.”
Since the start of 2020, the BMW M4 GT3 has undergone many stages of development. This began virtually with CAD and CFD simulations and continued with the use of an engine on the test bench, the assembly of the test chassis and work in the wind tunnel. One milestone was the roll-out on 18th July 2020. This was followed by testing at various racetracks with BMW works drivers. In December 2020, at the BMW SIM Live Event, Philipp Eng (AUT) demonstrated the steering wheel for the BMW M4 GT3, which was developed together with FANATEC. It is the first steering wheel in the world that can be used in both a real race car and a simulator without modifications.
In 2021, the testing continued in Monteblanco (ESP), Almeria (ESP) and on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (GER). The car currently has more than 8,000 test miles under its belt – that is the equivalent of more than 70 hours of track time. Throughout this phase, the BMW M Motorsport engineers worked hard to improve the driveability and reliability of the car on its way to being race-ready. The goal: to significantly reduce lifecycle costs and maintenance expenditures compared to its predecessor. Following the launch and race debut in June, the BMW M4 GT3 will undergo more tests and race outings before it is delivered to the first customers, who will compete with the car all over the world in 2022.
The biggest improvements compared to its predecessor, the BMW M6 GT3, are in the areas of driveability, cost efficiency and operation. The BMW M4 GT3’s handling and cockpit equipment are more comfortable for amateur drivers, while the car is easier on the tires and offers greater consistency. Far lower lifecycle costs and longer maintenance intervals for the engine and transmission are vital economic factors. Operating the car has been made far easier by the fact that many basic settings can be configured directly via the steering wheel, without having to connect an external laptop.