Andy Priaulx's guide to 2012's BMW M3 DTM racer
This is BMW’s M3 DTM Concept Car, a taster of the near-500bhp racer that will compete in the 2012 DTM (German Touring Car) series. Unveiled at BMW Welt in Munich, it signals BMW's return to the DTM after a two-decade absence; between 1987 and 1992, the BMW M3 won 40 races and had over 150 podium finishes in Germany's premier tin-top series.
Does this new BMW M3 DTM car bear any resemblance to a road-going M3?
Not really, although the new 2012 DTM regulations demand that all cars must use a certain number of standard parts – it’s one of the reasons BMW has re-entered the series. The M3 DTM concept features a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic monocoque (CFRP) with a steel roll cage, a six-speed sequential gearbox, and as per DTM regulations, a naturally aspirated 4.0-litre V8. With air restrictors in place, the eight-cylinder engine produces around 480bhp, and BMW reckons its new M3 racer will hit 62mph in around three seconds and top 186mph.
BMW Motorsport also claims it has been able to ‘call upon the immense technical resources of the BMW Group and apply their innovation to establish performance advantages over their rivals in areas such as engine and aerodynamics’. Massive rear wing notwithstanding, the DTM-spec M3 is 160mm longer than the road car (at 4775mm), those ridiculously blistered wheelarches up the width from 1804mm to 1950mm, and depending on the ride height set-up at each circuit, it’s a mere 1200mm tall (1424mm for the street legal car).
Don’t get too used to the style of this M3 though: the racer only rolled out onto the track for the first time two weeks ago so the team reckons the looks will change significantly between now and the start of the 2012 season.
Besides unveiling the car, BMW also confirmed a few more details of its DTM project. We already know that three teams will race M3s in next year’s DTM series: BMW Team Schnitzer, BMW Team RBM and BMW Team RMG. And now Brit and ex-WTCC champion Andy Priaulx, along with fellow BMW M3 GT driver Augusto Farfus, have been revealed as the first two drivers.
‘It is good to see how our DTM project is picking up speed,’ said BMW’s director of development Dr Klaus Draeger. ‘Next yea, BMW returns to the DTM after two decades. We will be facing our main competitors in the premium sector – and are already looking forward to this challenge.’
‘Getting a new racing programme up and running is a bit like doing a jigsaw,’ added new BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt. ‘New pieces are added almost every day, and we must put them together to create the big picture. The BMW M3 DTM Concept Car is an important milestone on our route to the start of the 2012 season. The rollout of the car was successful, and we are now starting our test programme out on the track. The pieces are fitting together perfectly, so we can definitely say: our preparations for the 2012 season are going according to plan.’
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