The unveiling of the first ever BMW M3 CS turned me into a nostalgic and I started going back through the special models BMW ever made of their iconic M3. Out of the bunch, the BMW E46 M3 GTR is the one that fascinates me the most. Don’t get me wrong, the CSL was a beautiful piece of engineering too but the GTR holds a special place in this man’s heart. Maybe it’s because of the fact that I got to play with it in the Need for Speed: Most Wanted game or maybe it’s because of the giant wing it came with but one thing’s for sure, it’s still the stuff dreams are made of.
In the footage below we get to see none other than the legend himself, Jans Joachim Stuck behind the wheel of the M3 GTR on the Green Hell, during a motorsport event. Even if this wasn’t a competition setup, Stuck would’ve probably still pushed the car to the absolute limit and things look absolutely awesome. Everything is absolutely on point, from the sound of the engine, to the crack in the windshield, it’s all there.
As for the BMW M3 GTR, in case you’re not equally mad about it as I am, you should know a couple of things about it. The car was made as a special competition-based version of E46 M3 that was designed to compete in the American Le Mans Series. Changes to the ALMS regulations made on the fly unfortunately rendered the model ineligible for competition, though not before a small number of street-legal iterations were produced in late 2001 and early 2002 in order to satisfy the original ALMS rules (which stated that an equivalent street version had to be offered to the public on at least two continents within 12 months).
Therefore, it is likely that only three road legal models of the E46 M3 GTR were ever produced, all in Titanium Silver metallic, even though the figure was never officially confirmed. Each car was converted from a standard E46 M3 production model and had a price tag of 250,000 Euros. They were quite different from the regular M3 too, basically being race cars transformed so that they could be allowed to be driven on public roads. Instead of the usual 3.2-liter S54 inline-six, the M3 GTR is powered by a compact 90-degree V8 with aluminum block and heads. With a displacement of 4 liters, the dry-sump motor produces 380 HP at 7,000 rpm and 288 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm in road trim.
The gearbox was the same 6-speed Getrag unit from the standard M3 and other borrowed parts were the steering rack, suspension a brakes, even though the dampers were a bit changed with a stiffer setup. Thanks to all these upgrade, the M3 GTR would reportedly hit 62 mph from standstill in 4.7 seconds. All the exterior bits are made of CFRP while the interior retains the standard dash, instruments and steering wheel but basically removes everything else, including the rear seats. The one in the footage below is the race track version and Hans is definitely not holding back.