BMW’s new-for-2022 M4 GT3 challenger has finally broken cover following a run-out at the marque’s Group Plant in Dingolfing, Germany.
The GT3 track-going version of BMW’s four-door coupe is set to replace the larger M6 GT3. The Bavarian brand’s halo track model since 2016 already has two overall victories at the Spa 24 Hours to its name, and will complete its final season as a works next year. The M4 GT3 meanwhile will make its full season debut in 2022, though BMW has confirmed that the newly developed race car “will contest its first races, for the purpose of testing under competitive conditions, in 2021.”
Should BMW have eyes on the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook for such a task next year [cough], a development race would be all too familiar to CREVENTIC. The second-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R for example finished an impressive 2nd overall on its competitive debut at the Hankook 24H PORTIMAO in 2018, courtesy of Manthey Racing, Alfred and Robert Renauer, Ralf Bohn, and Mathieu Jamiet. One year later, at the same event no less, the brand-new Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo was put through its paces by Charles Putman, Kenneth Heyer, Hubert Haupt, Rik Breukers, and Mercedes factory driver, Maximilian Buhk. The quartet, run by the Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy, took the car to a solid 6th of its maiden outing.
Developed in parallel with the second gen M4 Coupe, set to be revealed in September ahead of its 2021 release, there is a notable degree of crossover between the road car and its GT3 alter-ego. Both for example will share the same ‘S58’ turbocharged straight-six, which will be capable of “generating more than 500hp”, though track-going power will vary depending on BoP regulations. The road and track-going M4s will also use the same basic chassis and platform, though the latter will sit considerably lower, will incorporate an FIA-approved crash structure, and, as evidenced by the camouflaged rear shot, will feature a significantly wider rear track for added traction. Both cars will be rolled out alongside the sixth generation BMW M3, which will be built atop the same platform.
Following its on-road demonstration run, further testing of the first M4 GT3 test chassis is set to continue next week at BMW’s high-speed proving grounds in Miramas, France.
“It was fantastic and a great honour for me to be able to drive the first few metres in the new BMW M4 GT3,” explained former World Touring Car Championship race winner Augusto Farfus, who piloted the car on the streets around BMW’s Dingolfing facility. “I have been involved in the development of several BMW race cars and am always particularly pleased to be a part of such an important project. Although our main job during the rollout is to perform functional tests, I had a good feeling in the car from the outset and am already looking forward to the tests scheduled for the coming months.”
“With every BMW M4, we are taking motor racing technology to the streets,” continued Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “That is particularly true of the new BMW M4 Coupé, which forms the perfect basis for the race car. The straight six-cylinder engine with M TwinPower turbo technology and high-rev concept is used in both the production car and the race car. Our engineers designed the power unit from the outset with performance characteristics derived straight from the world of motor racing. We are confident that this approach will pay dividends in terms of performance and driving pleasure for both our GT3 customer teams at the racetrack and for our customers who purchase a new BMW M4 or BMW M3.”
In a fitting tribute to BMW ambassador and four-time gold medal-winning Paralympian Alessandro Zanardi, the test mule include a ‘Forza Alex’ message on top of the camouflaged livery. The two-time CART champion, who also took four wins with BMW in the WTCC, was airlifted to hospital just over a month ago following an horrific handbike accident in Tuscany, from which he suffered severe head injuries. Having spent several weeks in a medically-induced coma, and after undergoing three separate neurological surgeries, the Italian has this week been transferred to a rehabilitation facility to continue his convalescence.
*Images courtesy of BMW Motorsport