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The BMW M3 GTR Strassenversion.The BMW M3 GTR Strassenversion.

The BMW M3 GTR Strassenversion.

5 min reading time

The unicorn among BMW M3 E46 models.

 

The unicorn among BMW M3 E46 models. No air conditioning, no radio, no rear seats. But under the bonnet of this rare BMW M3 E46 roars a V8.

31 August 2021

Hot air shimmers over the asphalt. After the Bavarian fireball has passed the last bend before the start-finish line, we hear the unmistakeable roar of the V8 engine. Tension in the pit lane. Then, finally, certainty: at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 2001, the BMW M3 GTR, helmed by JJ Lehto and Jörg Müller, finishes on the podium in its first race. The team embrace. They all know: This is the start of a new era in American motorsport. From now on, this vehicle owns the racetracks of the American Le Mans Series. Victories in this series were the highest accolade for the US market. But the way there was hard and the effort required enormous. The extraordinary story of the BMW M3 GTR.

Street- and raceversion of the BMW M3 GTRStreet- and raceversion of the BMW M3 GTR
Racing machines at the turn of the millennium: The BMW M3 GTR "Street" and the BMW M3 GTR racing version derived from it.

THE WAY TO SUPERSPORT STATUS.

A RACING CAR WITHOUT A PERMIT.

THE NATIVITY OF THE BMW M3 GTR STRASSENVERSION.

5 POWERFUL FACTS:

  • Max. output: 258 kW (350 hp)
  • Max. torque: 365 Nm at 5,000 rpm
  • Displacement: 3,997 cm3
  • Curb weight: 1,350 kg
  • Vmax: 295 km/h

MOTORSPORT – SLIGHTLY RESTRICTED.

The P60B40 engine.The P60B40 engine.
The P60B40 was used exclusively in the BMW M3 GTR Strassenversion.

The most important benchmark for the configuration of the BMW M3 GTR Strassenversion was the use of the same V8 engine as in the racing version – the P60B40. The car thus also adopted its competition-proved dry sump lubrication. Reliable and in compliance with the rules, the power unit from the race car could be watered down a little for use in the series version. The result was still a more than potent drive unit, which did its work with 258 kW (350 hp) under the characteristic bonnet.

Hood of the BMW E46 M3 GTR Strassenversion.Hood of the BMW E46 M3 GTR Strassenversion.

The difference in performance was in particular necessary regarding to noise and exhaust regulations. Side fact: This engine was never used for any other series model.

In contrast to the race version with sequential transmission, the M3 GTR “Street” had a 6-gear manual gearbox with a two-disc motorsport clutch and a variable limited slip differential. While the basic version of the M3 generation of the time was limited to 250 km/h (280 km/h were optionally possible), the GTR had a mighty 295 km/h at its disposal.

BMW M3 GTR "Street" and BMW M3 E46BMW M3 GTR "Street" and BMW M3 E46
Track tool meets production sports car: BMW M3 GTR "Street" and BMW M3 Coupé.

NOT AN OUNCE TOO MUCH.

A WINNER’S PURISTIC INTERIOR.

Interior of the BMW M3 GTR.Interior of the BMW M3 GTR.

The M3 GTR Strassenversion, which was only available in Titan silver metallic, had a sleek and slim, all-black interior: By excluding comfort features, the two-seater sports car stayed on the heels of the BMW M3 GTR. The message in the sales leaflet sounds plausible: “Those who want to win, have to be able to do without – the puristic interior of a winner”. That also meant: no air conditioning, no radio and most definitely no rear seats.

A SHORT HISTORY OF SUCCESSFUL MOTORSPORT.

THE UNICORN.

The BMW M3 GTR is street legal.The BMW M3 GTR is street legal.

Among BMW M3 E46 models.

At its presentation in 2001, the BMW M3 GTR Strassenversion sent a signal, in particular as regards price – and it wasn’t exactly a bargain: you had to shell out 250,000 Euro if you wanted to own this uncompromising driving machine. A lot of money for a BMW M3 – from today’s standpoint no bad investment. The sports coupé is as legendary as a unicorn and highly sought after by collectors. It’s more or less impossible to get hold of one. Which makes putting a realistic market price for a M3 GTR Street pretty well impossible. Moreover, it’s not entirely clear where the ten vehicles produced back then actually are and whether they were ever licensed for road use by their owners. What’s certain is that BMW Group Classic preserves collector’s items like the shown one for future fans.

LASTING FAME IN THE DIGITAL AGE.

INSIDE BMW GROUP CLASSIC.INSIDE BMW GROUP CLASSIC.

INSIDE BMW GROUP CLASSIC.

The BMW M3 GTR in the secret BMW garage.

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