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  BMW M3 GT2

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Country of origin:Germany
Produced from:2009 - 2011
Introduced at:2008 Chicago Auto Show
Internal name:E92
Successor:BMW Z4 GTE
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 16, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAt the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW launched a brand new generation of the popular M3, which for the first time was not powered by a straight six but a V8. This was however not the first M3 powered by a V8 as a similarly engined M3 of the previous generation briefly, and successfully raced both in North America and Europe. This M3 GTR's promising career was cut short due to homologation issues.

Considering the unfinished business, especially in North America, it was hardly a surprise that a competition version of the E92-model M3 was launched in 2008 with an eye on competing in the 2009 American Le Mans Series. Dubbed the M3 GT2, the new GT racer was entrusted to the American Rahal Letterman Racing team, who would go on to field a two-car effort in the ALMS from 2009 through to the 2012 season.

Based on the road-going M3, the GT2 racer was completely stripped and fitted with a wider and more aggressive body crafted from carbon-fibre composites. The nose featured a deep splitter and a tall wing was mounted on the rear deck. Power came from the same four-litre V8 engine, which was good for 460 bhp with the mandatory restrictors fitted on the intakes. This power was transferred to the rear wheels through a Hewland six-speed gearbox.

The M3 GT2 did not have the best of debuts as both cars retired early from the 2009 Sebring 12 Hours with mechanical issues. The car's pace was however very competitive and in the second, much shorter race at St. Petersburg race one of the M3s placed second in class. The team had to wait until round seven, at Road America, for the M3 GT2's first win. Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen scored the victory, beating their team-mates by almost a lap.

BMW's withdrawal from Formula 1 freed up resources for a European campaign as well. The Schnitzer-fielded cars were raced in select rounds of the Le Mans Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. In the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the M3 GT2s featured a livery created by famous artist Jeff Koons. Unfortunately mechanical issues dogged the cars at most rounds but in the final ILMC race BMW did secure the GT2 class win.

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  Article Image gallery (161) Chassis (6) Specifications User Comments (2)