Page 1 of 2 Next >> To underline the sporting credentials of the newly introduced E46 series M3, BMW created a new competition version to compete in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) from the start of the 2001 season. Experience with previous M3 competition cars, however, had revealed that the straight six used in the M3 road car would not provide a suitable basis for a competitive racing engine, despite working so well in the road car.
Instead, the BMW Motorsport engineers decided to create a compact and lightweight V8 engine from scratch to power the new M3 GTR. This was an all-aluminium unit, featuring a 90° bank angle and displacing just under four litres. With the mandatory intake restrictors in place, it produced around 500 hp according to BMW. The new engine, code-named P60, was mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox.
One of the advantages of using the considerably shorter engine was that there was additional space ahead of the V8 to mount the radiators at such an angle that the air could be vented out over the engine cover and did not have to go through the engine. Further changes included an aggressive aerodynamics package with a deep front air-dam and sizeable rear spoiler. All of these components were crafted in exotic composite materials to bring the weight down to the regulation minimum.
In order for the car to be homologated, BMW announced a production run of a Strassen Version or Road Version. Crucially, it also featured the V8 engine that was found in no other production BMW. To make it more usable on the road, the racing engine was detuned but still produced between 350 and 380 bhp. The road going M3 GTR also featured a fully upholstered interior but retained many of the composite components. Limited to just 10 examples, the Strassen Version was priced at 250,000 Euro. Page 1 of 2 Next >>