BMW’s M cars used to be roadgoing versions of race cars, but now it’s the other way around. The BMW M4 went on sale as a 2015 model, but BMW is just now building a racing version derived from it.
This red, white, and blue beast is called the M4 GT4. It was designed for the FIA GT4 class, which emphasizes low costs and keeps cars relatively close to stock. GT4 has attracted interest from other manufacturers like Ford and Chevrolet, which have GT4 versions of the Mustang and the Camaro, respectively.
The M4 GT4 uses the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six from the stock M4. BMW quoted power output at “more than 431 horsepower,” depending on the rules of individual racing series. The stock M4 makes 425hp in standard trim, and 444hp with the optional Competition Package. The GT4 also gets a special racing exhaust system.
The race car also borrows the carbon-fiber hood from the limited-edition M4 GTS model, and adds carbon-fiber doors on top of that, plus a big front splitter and rear spoiler. Other bits, including the brakes, seats, and pedal box, were influenced by lessons learned from the higher-performance BMW M6 GT3 race car.
A new tech feature is a “power stick” system for the engine-control computer. Each individual power stick can be loaded with different calibration software, giving engineers an easy, plug-and-play way to change the engine setup. BMW said this will be helpful in dealing with so-called “balance of performance” changes, where race officials make rule tweaks on the fly in order to keep the racing close.
BMW has been testing the M4 GT4 in different races, and plans to run it in an upcoming 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. It’s currently offering the car for sale to race teams, priced at 169,000 euros ($189,000). Customers are expected to take delivery in time for the 2018 racing season.
In the U.S., both the Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge allow GT4-class cars, so it’s possible the M4 GT4 will race on this side of the Atlantic at some point.
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