08 October 2007

M3 promises...

Will BMW’s V8 racer make it to Le Mans next year? Yes, if we’ve got anything to do with it

BMW M3 Le Mans racer

If BMW gets its way this brand new M3 ALMS racer could end up racing in the Le Mans 24hr next year.

Currently it's a brand-new GT2 car to be campaigned by the Rahal Letterman Racing team (yep, that’s Letterman as in the US talk show host) in the 2009 American Le Mans Series.
 
But BMW, remember, has form at Le Mans – they won it outright in 1999 with the V12 LMR. Here, the Landshut team, the guys who build BMW’s F1 engines, have overhauled the M3’s 4.2-litre V8, which now puts out 485bhp – 72bhp more than the road-going M3.

Naturally, BMW has cut out any unnecessary weight, stripping out the M3’s interior and fitting body panels built from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic – the stuff found on the roof of the production M3 coupe. The racer weighs in at just 1150kg in competition trim.
 
You’ll have spotted those wider arches and massive rear wing, and there’s also a sequential six-speed gearbox with carbon fibre clutch, new limited slip diff, and massive race brakes.
 
BMW is currently working with the FIA to get the M3 approved for Le Mans. Make it happen, guys.

And, while we’re here, let’s throw in a few other cars that should – nay, must – appear at Le Mans next year.

That Audi R8 GT3, for one. If you can’t see what’s great about a 500bhp-plus, rear-wheel drive R8, may we recommend www.gardenersworld.com?

We’ll take the KTM X-Bow GT4, too. OK, so GT4 cars don’t race at Le Mans, but surely it’s worth making an exception for any driver that’s stupid enough to give it a shot?

And, in the realms of massive hopefulness, let’s get that GT500 version of the Nissan GT-R in there, too. Don’t really care what category. Just do it.

And how about a Merc SL63 GT3? And that Maserati GT racer 'concept'? That’d be good, too. And a mid-engined 500 Abarth for good measure…

Yes, next year's Le Mans is going to be good.

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