New BMW M6 GTLM racer looks mean in early test

BMW is gearing up for the debut of its new M6-based GT racing car, scheduled for the Daytona 24 Hours in January. The images here are from the first test of GTLM-spec machine, held at Sebring in October.

And we think you’ll agree, it looks mean. Evil almost, with its squinting, glowing, bright yellow headlights.

The BMW M6 GTLM will be run at Daytona and the remaining IMSA SportsCar Championship rounds by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The squad, part-owned by former talkshow host David Letterman, has been BMW’s de facto works outfit in American endurance racing since 2009. It finished second in the 2015 championship with the Z4. RLL has yet to announce its 2016 driver line-up, but BMW has a huge roster of drivers to call on.

The M6 racer is roughly production-based, but shares very little with the road car. The most obvious change are the steroidal wheelarches, covering a massively stretched track. Much of the bodywork is carbonfibre, punctured by many vents. And there’s that gigantic rear wing.

The engine is shared with the production car, a 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8, producing around 600bhp in race trim, subject to Balance of Performance equalisation.

IMSA’s GTLM regulations are virtually identical to the FIA/ACO GTE rules. Though it remains to be seen if the M6 will race on this side of the Atlantic: BMW hasn’t previously competed in the World Endurance Championship and its represntative in the European Le Mans Series, Marc VDS, has quit racing.

Wherever it races, the M6 will face stiff competition from the Porsche 911, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Corvette and Ferrari 458/488. And let’s not forget the new Ford GT, a car designed to the GTLM/GTE regulations then turned into a road car for homologation. It’s about as close to a prototype-class machine as a GT can get and, even though it’s yet to turn a wheel in anger, is expected to dominate the class.

A less advanced, GT3-spec version of the M6 will be available to customer teams for around £300,000. By our count, BMW faces competition from 11 other manufacturers, there.

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By Only Motors

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