BMW’s Racing Expansion: 2018 Le Mans Contender, New GT4 Car
BMW expands GT racing programs with GTE, GT4 versions.
BMW made several major announcements at the Nürburgring 24 Hours last month. Along with the world unveiling of the new M8 road car, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt also announced the company’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend with a GTE version of the M8. Additionally, the FIA-homologated version of the BMW M4 GT4 debuted in competition at the N24, winning the SP8T class.
BMW offered few technical details on the M8 street car. However, the camouflage couldn’t hide enlarged air intakes, big brakes, and quad exhausts. All of that speaks to classic BMW M-tuning that will render this angry-eyebrowed coupe an Autobahn-eating machine. Expect a healthy dose of horsepower in this grand tourer.
The Le Mans-competing GTE M8 went up against the Ford GT, Ferrari 488, Aston Martin Vantage, and Chevy Corvette C7.R in a deep field of manufacturer-backed GT cars. BMW last raced at Le Mans in 2011 with the E92 M3s run by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Since then, RLL switched to IMSA-only competition in North America, with modified GT3-spec cars — first the Z4 and currently the M6.
Fours Are Wild
BMW has raced the M4 in GT4 trim a bit here and there, but the homologated version officially debuted at the N24. Sectural Sorg Rennsport took an M4 GT4 to a class win in the SP8T category at the race. The win and first homologated GT4 start came along with the announcement of pricing for the GT4-spec car. Unlike the GTE program, this comes with a customer aim and the GT4 racer can get one to the track for a few bucks short of $190,000.
That price includes a race-ready M4 with a 431-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo inline-six engine, a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and adjustable suspension. In addition, the roof, doors, hood, and aerodynamic elements are made from carbon fiber. Air jacks allow quick pit stops and driver aids like ABS and directional stability control (DSC) assist gentleman drivers in competition. Any GT4 homologation allows the ability to compete in an expanding arena of racing for considerably cheaper than GT3-spec racing.