BMW’s all-new M6 GT3 will not likely make its competition debut until 2016, with the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai and Rolex 24 at Daytona both earmarked as the potential first outings for the car.
Speaking to reporters during last weekend’s Total 24 Hours of Spa, where the Z4 GT3 clinched its first major 24-hour victory, BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt admitted Dubai and Daytona are on the radar screen.
“That’s obviously what I think customers would like to run and that’s what we’re clearly aiming at,” Marquardt said.
“That’s the focus of our development program is that we hand over a car to the customers that’s already developed, that not necessarily has raced in the hands of a works effort from our side.”
While German rivals Audi and Mercedes have opted to roll out its new-generation cars in races this year with factory or works-supported teams, BMW’s Marquardt has stressed their focus is on customer racing.
“It’s competition. But as we’ve said before and I would like to stress again, this is really customer racing,” he said.
“Therefore, for us, it’s not an option to enter a prototype on a works level and compete against our customers or potential customers. This is customer racing and nothing but.”
Two of BMW’s longtime supported teams, Marc VDS Racing and MTEK, have been helping lead development of the M6 GT3, which has taken a two-pronged approach on performance and durability.
“Development program wise, we’re definitely on track,” Marquardt said. “We’ve split it in terms of performance-related testing and endurance testing. We’ve done both types quite intensively.
“I’m definitely very much looking forward to the next weeks as we get more and more done.”
While Marquardt wouldn’t confirm new car sales projections, he indicated a strong level of customer interest for 2016.
Both Marc VDS and Turner Motorsport are among the teams likely to campaign the M6 GT3 next year, as well as BMW Team Brasil, which recently put its two Z4 GT3s up for sale.
“Customer interest is really high,” Marquardt said. “Teams are making plans for next year.
“In that respect, [Spa] is a really good event for us to showcase the product, speak to the teams and tell them more about the progress we’re making.
“I’m really happy with the M6 that we have a successor to the Z4, that is a M car again. That’s also what was important to us, to really showcase M as a brand.
“It is the most powerful letter in the World and definitely something we always wanted to achieve.
“With the M235 and next year the M6 and some space in-between, I think we’re well set for the future regarding customer racing.”