The 2015 Legends of the Autobahn hosted two exclusive and exciting BMWs: the E46 M3 GTR street car and the track version of the same car. The road car version of the M3 GTR is one of the most limited production models ever produced by BMW and this marked only the second time the car has been shown in North America.
BMW Motorsport Chassis no. M3-GTR-006 has undergone an 18–month ground-up restoration by BMWUSA Classic partner Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) with invaluable assistance from former PTG team members and BMW Motorsport.
The most unique feature of the M3 GTR was its powerplant, the first M3 in the history of the company to feature a V8 engine. Designated “P60” the 4.0-liter engine was the first engine designed and constructed by BMW Motorsport specifically as a race engine.
This unique machine was smaller and weigh 30 pounds less than the inline six, despite adding two cylinders. Featuring a dry sump for optimal lubrication at high cornering loads and a “flat plane” crankshaft, the design allowed for more efficient exhaust scavenging without the need to have header primaries cross over from one bank to the other enabling optimal flow at high rpms. This resulted in a very reliable 444 horsepower at 7500 rpm in race trim.
In order to fulfill the homologation requirements, the M3 GTR road car was built in parallel with the racing program in the special vehicles department of the BMW Regensburg Plant. The road car used a slightly detuned version of the P60 rated at 380 horsepower at 7,000 rpm – complete with dry-sump lubrication and sharply canted radiator with hood venting. Power was transmitted through a racing style twin-disc clutch to a 6-speed manual gearbox and variable locking M differential.
A total of six cars were completed before the program was terminated. Three of those were engineering development cars that were later recycled. Three production level examples were produced and these survive to this day as part of the BMW Group Classic collection.
BMW E46 M3 GTR Street Car
BMW E46 M3 GTR Race Car