With the Z4 GTE in its final year in North America, BMW is aiming to homologate its new-for-2016 M6 GT3 for the GT Le Mans class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Speaking to Sportscar365, BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt revealed the German manufacturer’s desire of continuing with a factory GTLM program, although it will hinge on whether a variant of its new GT3 car could compete in the class.
While not directly confirming its program, Marquardt admitted an initiative is underway.
“We have to see what solution we can find for the U.S.,” he told Sportscar365. “It’s not easy at the moment. We’re working on something. It’s still early days.
“It definitely has to be a target for us to continue with a factory program in the U.S. GTLM will be ideal, but hopefully we will see.”
While BMW developed the Z4 GTE specifically to ACO specifications, a potential M6 variant would likely only be eligible in the TUDOR Championship under national homologation.
It’s understood Bentley is pursuing a similar IMSA-only homologation with its Continental GT3 for next year, made possible thanks to both the Bentley and BMW’s turbocharged engines being able to accept sonic air restrictors.
BMW’s Marquardt said they’ve been in discussions with IMSA and the ACO on the best way to move forward, although revealing that it would be “quite unrealistic” for them to develop the car to two completely separate platforms.
“[The M6] would be the best thing to have, although we would not be able to develop a complete separate GTLM car,” he said.
“Honestly speaking, that’s why we were so positive about the [GT] convergence.
“To spend an enormous amount of money and effort on a car that’s running in one [series] only is not really efficient. At the same time, you don’t have any benefits, one from the other.”
Marquardt, meanwhile, has reaffirmed BMW’s focus on the GT ranks, with the manufacturer not actively pursing a LMP2 program under the proposed new-for-2017 regulations.
It follows reports of BMW evaluating a factory LMP1 entry for the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2017.
“What we found was racing, and the M6 is a very good example, is that featuring M products in our programs is the best way for us as a brand,” he said.
“It’s the strongest letter in the world, M. We can showcase our products and to get customers and fans, the direct relationship between the race car and the car that you can buy [is important].
“That’s working very well for us and is well received. That route will definitely continue.”
However, he hasn’t ruled out a possible engine supply program for the TUDOR Championship, should an existing platform easily fit to the new regulations.
“We’re developing the new engine for DTM, which is a four-cylinder direct-injection turbo engine,” Marquardt said.
“If that powertrain would fit into something, it’s something we’d think about. But we’d for sure not develop anything specifically for application in a prototype.”