Video: BMW Road Atlanta Hot Laps with the E46 M3 GTR

Videos | December 22nd, 2009 by 11
BMW M3 GTR  4858 20070708

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) …

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.

BMW M3 GTR  4858 20070708 655x491

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]

11 responses to “Video: BMW Road Atlanta Hot Laps with the E46 M3 GTR”

  1. viper says:

    great car , it had very short life

  2. Babken says:

    A Brilliant Automobile.

  3. teflon says:

    The car in the video sounded like the 6 cylinder GTR, not the V8.

  4. Steve Tenney says:

    Wish I had been there to go for a ride with Martin. Looks like great fun. Yes it is one of the E46 6 cylinder ALMS GT cars from 2006. It sounds great though.

  5. Nemanja says:

    As Steve pointed, this is no V8 engined M3. Its one of PTG prepared inline 6 M3s.

  6. Matt says:

    This is a real M3 GTR built by BMW Motorsport and raced by PTG for BMW NA with its identical sister car during the (in)famous 2001 ALMS season. Schnitzer raced two additional M3 GTRs during the same ALMS season on behalf of BMW AG. At that time the car in the above video was of course equipped with Motorsport’s proprietary V8 engine. The car was later fitted with a race-spec S54 inline-6 with output somewhere north of 420bhp, and that’s how it sits now. The car may be eventually re-fitted with its original V8 race engine, but this won’t be done in the immediate future.
    There is some inaccuracy regarding the Wikipedia-sourced information on the M3 GTR street car mentioned above. BMW Motorsport did build a single M3 GTR for the street and had fully prepared to start a short production run of the model to meet proposed 2002 homologation rules. The prototype was shown and driven at the 2001 Petit Le Mans. However- the 2002 rules were changed, BMW decided not to race, and the production run for the street car was cancelled. BMW Motorsport still has the prototype M3 GTR street car in Garching and it is truly equipped with a street-able version of the proprietary 4.0L V8 race motor, rather than a 4.9L S62 V8 as some have speculated.
    Hope this helps clear up some confusion.

  7. Damien says:

    I am mad I missed that! Must make it this year maybe get a chance to see that car!

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