The 2001 M3 GTR is one of BMW's most limited production models

The 2001 M3 GTR is one of BMW’s most limited production models

When the rules at Le Mans threatened victories BMW They won a GTR race in 2001, and they knew how to run their course. Using a loophole in the rules, BMW made a road-going version of the GTR for racing, building only 10 models in order to meet requirements so they could compete in Le Mans. The rarity of the road-going GTR has made these models incredibly valuable. However, when Le Mans changed the rules again a year later to make the racing requirements more stringent and detailed, BMW chose to opt out of Le Mans, instead of using the GTR to race in other European races.


Read on to learn more about the history, rarity and quirks of the 2001 BMW M3 GTR.

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But why was it so limited?

Production of the 2001 M3 GTR was only 10 models. This is not a common practice, but the special circumstances justify this situation. BMW first had an E46 M3 GTR in order to compete at Le Mans in 2001. It won seven out of 10 races in its first season, infuriating rival manufacturers like Porsche enough that they suggested BMW should have a running version On the road from this victory car otherwise it would be a violation of the rule. Prior to that, BMW had the E36 M3 GTR, as well as the E30 M3 and E92 M3.


When BMW was conceptualizing the GTR for Le Mans racing, they decided it Smoothing their race car was a necessary step. Furthermore, Le Mans bases were private enough to sell at least one copy of the GTR. They also realized that their race cars use a V8, which is when they decided, for consistency purposes, to give the road car a V8, too. The engine was 4.0 liters and could generate 350 hp.

With this change, BMW knew it could play by Le Mans rules, with Le Mans allowing small production-run specials with a minimum of 10 examples to be sold within a year of the first race car appearing on the track. These were tough rules, but Le Mans had standards, and BMW knew how to barely exploit the loopholes With their new GTR on the road to keep winning races with GTR Racing.


Designed specifically for racing

The inner workings of the GTR’s interior have been noted for how unusual they are. First, all comfort gear has been removed and all body parts for both the road and racing versions are made of carbon fibre. The rear spoiler, for example, is made of carbon fiber and reinforced plastic. Only two seats are includednot four, and all of that made the weight a mere 2,976 pounds.

BMW had to be careful during construction to take into account regulations on emissions and noise levels, although with this in mind, they kept the race version and road version as close to matching as possible. The suspension was also significantly lowered and the car sported 19-inch sport wheels, all working toward the goal of making the GTR compact without sacrificing its high performance. BMW has also given the M3 GTR its own engine code, P60B40, in order to ensure its competitive edge at Le Mans. Therefore, the engine cannot be installed on any other BMW model.


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Cue ban!

After all the models have been made, Racing rules have changed, which prohibits the use of the GTR. A year after the arrival of the 2001 GTR, Le Mans changed the rules so much that BMW chose to withdraw from more racing competitions at Le Mans. The new rules stipulated that 100 cars, not 10, must be built for a car to legally compete and qualify. Other guidelines for following these rules will also apply, such as a 20% air restriction and a 100-pound heavier weight.

That was too much for BMW to keep playing at Le Mans, but they went on to use their GTR to race at other races in Europe, such as the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and Germany’s Spa-Francorchamps. The rules have been changed at Le Mans regarding homogeneity, as they feel these rules have been taken advantage of many times in the past two decades.


Minor modifications are mandatory

Between the road version and the racing version of the GTR, Some changes had to be made for practical purposes. The GTR not only used the carbon fibers mentioned above in order to reduce weight but the front spoiler and rear spoiler were also prominently included for aerodynamic purposes. Between the abutment towers and the firewall there is an additional brace. As mentioned earlier, no rear seats or comfort features were incorporated into the aerodynamic design.

Sources: drivetribe.com, carscoops.com, endurancewarranty.com, doubleapex.co.za,

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