After years of sitting on the sidelines and watching 911s clean up in racing in Europe and North America, BMW decided to tackle Porsche head on! Since they were going to offer an M3 with a V8 in the following year they did what any self-respecting company would do, they changed the rules! When you throw some money at the rules committee you’d be surprised what happens. Poof! You get things done. And wow, did this car get it done!
In 2000 BMW North America, in conjunction with PTG (Tom Milner’s Prototype Technology Groupe), built six racecars. Four ran with six-cylinder engines and two used the 4.9-liter M5 S62 V8s (conservatively rated at 460 horsepower at the season start), each of them combined with specially developed carbon fiber bodywork. BMW and PTG specifically put these cars together to beat Porsche in the Rolex Grand Am series. This example is the first V8 M3 to race in North America (car 004) and it’s the predecessor to the GTR. Once this car showed up at the 24 hours of Daytona, the governing body realized the error of their ways (by way of a lot of threats from other manufactures) and organizers started trying anything to slow them down. Adding weight (100 pounds), mandating even more severe intake air restrictors (down to 29mm), and a host of other changes hampered any chance BMW had of winning the championship.
Hans Stuck, Boris Said, Terry Borcheller, and Toney Jennings debuted this car at the Daytona 24 Hours in 2001, at one point leading the race before a broke piston ring sidelined the car. Stuck said about the V8 M3, “Now it is even more the ultimate driving machine!” The car was very controversial due to homologation issues but it won GT class at Homestead, Florida; Lime Rock, Connecticut, and Mid-Ohio. (At Lime Rock, it was overall winner as well.) This may be the only remaining example as there are reports – as yet unconfirmed – that the sister car may have been destroyed at Bathurst during the 2003, 24-hour race in Australia.
Race History (2001-2003)
First season: 3 wins, 5 podiums, 9 Top 10 Finishes. Finishing 2nd in points for the 2001 season. Class wins at Mid-Ohio, Homestead and an “overall win” at Lime Rock. Due to the car’s performance, it was saddled with further significant weight handicaps as well as intake restrictions. Despite this the GT remained very competitive. GT #004 raced professionally in Grand Am until 2003. At that time, Jim Bell or Bell Motorsports sold the car to Danny Alvis of Wilmington, North Carolina. He raced the car in BMW Club Races a handful of times. Danny died in 2007 and his estate sold the car to Scott Newman of Miami Florida. Scott ran the car in SVRA and HSR events. The last time the car ran in anger was at the Legends of Motorsport event at Homestead in 2010. In 2012, the car went back to PTG where they completely refreshed it.
This car is the last project to leave PTG because the company has closed for good. Many of the original crew at PTG performed a true labor of love on this project. The car has not sustained any significant damage during its life, a remarkable feat for a car in a competitive series such as the Grand Am.
Currently the car is track ready. It has absolutely minimum hours on its fresh engine, just test time only. GT #004 features a Hewland 6-speed gearbox, a carbon fiber body over its stitch-welded steel tub, air jacks, and updated fuel cell. Watch the following video for more details on this BMW’s racing history:
Generous spares package
As is necessary with any racecar, this one comes with a significant number of spares: extra hood, trunk lid with wing, 20+ BBS wheels, Hewland 6 speed gear box with 25 sets of gears. Magnesium rear control arms, axles, and shocks are among other bits and pieces. There are various bins with coolers, bearings, an assortment of fittings, and more. A copy of the original build book with engineers’ notes, drawings and photos also comes with car 004. Included are the old magazines, a scale model toy car, notebooks with setup notes, and communications between Milner, Bell, Borcheller, and Stuck during the restoration.
For additional history on car 004, please follow this link. This car was featured in Bimmermag.com, August 28, 2014.
For proponents of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” with a serious urge to go fast on tracks, this is a piece of history not to be missed.
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