The second-generation BMW M4 GT4 ended its maiden 24-hour endurance race on the GTX class podium at the 2022 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO.
Words – James Gent
Images – BMW Press
BMW Junior driver Dan Harper has decreed the maiden 24-hour event for the second-generation BMW M4 GT4 “a success” after the BMW M Motorsport entry finished this past weekend’s Hankook 24H PORTIMAO on the GTX-class podium.
Harper was joined on driver detail by Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse (all three young racers also competed on the BMW M4 GT3’s endurance racing debut at last year’s Hankook 24H SEBRING) and BMW’s test and development driver Jörg Weidinger. While the M4 GT4 lined up 4th in the GTX class behind category championship contenders Leipert Motorsport, RD Signs – Siauliai racing team and Vortex V8, the sheer pace of the new generation M4 meant the #482 entry had moved into the lead by the second hour, holding its advantage into the third.
Though time was lost early on with two punctures, a sequence of pre-planned programs meant BMW M4 GT4 had dropped back to 3rd by one-third distance, ahead only of Vortex, which lost significant time to a front-end rebuild. A position the BMW, set to be “battling for wins and titles around the world in the hands of BMW M Motorsport teams and drivers in the 2023 season,” held comfortably to the end of the event, despite the oppressive Portuguese temperatures.
“That was the first real endurance test for the new BMW M4 GT4 and I am still impressed with the car,” Harper explained. “Overall, it worked really well over 24 hours and we managed to chalk up a lot of kilometres of testing. It is normal for there to still be occasional problems in the test phase, but all things considered the race was a success.
“The heat was a real challenge for us drivers, but great preparation for the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps that is coming up for us next.”
The result means the new BMW M4 GT4 is the third non-homologated development model from a manufacturer to secure a podium finish on its 24-hour racing debut at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, following the new Porsche 991 GT3 R, which finished 2nd overall in 2018 with Manthey Racing, and the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, which took an unopposed victory in the ‘SP4’ class as ‘Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy’ in 2019.