The new-for-2016 BMW M6 GT3 made its public debut Friday evening at the Nürburgring, as the German manufacturer continues the development process of the soon-to-be Z4 GT3 replacement.
Further details and a more specific timeline for the car’s race debut have been revealed, with BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt proving insight into the latest-generation GT3 contender.
“We have really put a lot of effort into the car regarding putting ourselves into the customers shoes and thinking what they would want to have from a car,” Marquardt told Sportscar365.
“Obviously you’d like to have an efficient powertrain. If there was a part of the Z4 package that wasn’t ideal, you could probably say it was the powertrain side.
“Therefore we said we needed to look at those performance windows that are now defined on what is the best fit we can get from a production-based engine.”
While featuring a longer wheelbase than the Z4 GT3, arguably the biggest improvement comes under the hood with the M6 GT3’s 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, which produces in excess of 500 horsepower.
“The eight-cylinder twin-turbo was definitely the best solution,” Marquardt said. “It’s more or less the production engine, with a few intake modifications to fit the car.
“We have a proven powertrain at a really good performance level, torque and top-end wise. I think that is the big step.”
While the Z4 GT3 has won races and championships worldwide, Marquardt admitted its shortcomings, particularly with optimizing its compact V8 powertrain, which struggled for top speed.
“Whenever we tried improving the performance of the powertrain on the Z4, it was always packaging issues,” he said. “We’re in position where we can package everything properly, with really safe measures, such as seat installation, roof access, the crash area in the front of the car.
“From an engineering point of view, it’s a better platform and much easier to get a very good solution without having to do loops and loops, which at the end of the day made things expensive.”
The M6’s development program began in February, with factory driver Joerg Mueller handling the majority of the testing duties.
Marquardt said it will at some point expand into a three-car testing program, with a focus soon shifting towards durability tests this summer. He said a second test car has just completed build.
As for its race debut, he wouldn’t confirm rumors of a possible end-of-year appearance, with the focus instead on delivering a well-packaged race car to customers in time for the 2016 season.
“At the moment, there’s absolutely no plan [to debut the car this year],” Marquardt said. “We’re going for our testing program.
“We would like to have it in the hands of our customers at the start of next year’s season, so this is the absolute target from us at the moment so we’re focusing on that.
“However we go through the program we’ll see, but at the moment there’s no plans.”