BMW’s M division is back in the business of building specialty street legal race cars with a new lightweight version of the M3 called the GTS.
The lightweight coupe, due to go on sale in the UK in early 2010 for 115,000 euro (£102,000), has been conceived as a limited edition model primarily for club based racing in much the same way Porsche produces the 911 GT3 Clubsport.
But in a clear effort to link its track based activities with the production car side of its business, BMW’s M division is offering the new car with an homologation package that will allow potential customers to register the M3 GTS for street use.
Helping to distinguish the new track orientated M3 from the standard versions of the iconic two door is a body kit based on that used on BMW’s 320si race car campaigned in the WTCC (World Touring Car Championship).
It includes a deeper front air dam with an integral splitter element as well as a sizeable adjustable boot lid mounted rear wing. The traditional kidney grille and air vents within the front fenders also come in a dark finish.
BMW M division engineers have also given the M3 GTS a carbon fibre roof and dispensed with much of the sound proofing material within the bodyshell as part of a weight saving initiative aimed at raising performance. The new car is claimed to weight no more than 1500kg – some 155kg less than its standard sibling.
Inside, there’s a spartan interior which dispenses with many of the M3’s usual luxuries. The standard trim is replaced by simple carbon fibre and alcantara panels while hard shell front seats, six point harnesses, roll cage and fire extinguisher all form part of the race grade package. Customers will also be able to specify the new BMW with a basic sound system and air conditioning unit.