Think BMW North America doesn’t care about the driving experience? Think again. Martin Birkmann, Manager, Product Planning & Strategy, drove the BMW M3 GTR (E46) and gave VIP rides at Road Atlanta Oktoberfest 2009.
Having met Martin before, we’re fully aware of his driving skills and the thrill caused by the fast and perfect laps achieved. While he hasn’t given us a ride in the E46 M3 GTR, we did have the privilege though to ride with him in the all-new BMW X6 M, on the same circuit, going through the same corners and straight lines.
The experience? One of a kind.
BMW Car Club of America held the annual Octoberfest this year in Lake Lanier Islands, Georgia which includes Concours D’Elegance, plus 5 days of track time at Road Atlanta These are not races, but rather performance driving instruction with professional drivers in your own car.
For those of you not familiar with the E46 M3 GTR, here is a short history of this model.
E46 GTR came to life on February 2001, powered by a 4.0 liter V8 engine producing 444 horsepower (331 kW; 450 PS) (race version—street version produced 380 bhp (283 kW; 385 PS)). Unlike the straight-six powered M3 versions, the racing version of the E46 M3 GTR 16 was very successful in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), entered by Schnitzer Motorsport.
In 2001, ALMS regulations stated that cars must be for sale on two continents within twelve months of the rules being issued. To fulfill this rule, BMW put 10 road going GTRs on sale after the 2001 season, for 250,000 euros (then $218,000) each, allegedly only available for select customers.
Both M3 GTR Road and Race Cars were featured in the game Gran Turismo 4, both as prize cars that could only be won and couldn’t be bought. The road-going M3 GTR is also featured in the game Forza Motorsport 3, where the player may either buy it or win it while progressing through the career mode of the game. It was also featured as the cover car for Electronic Arts’ racing game Need For Speed: Most Wanted.
Thanks for the tip Matt!
[Source: Wikipedia & Ultimatecarpage]