BMW on Saturday hosted its end of year celebration for its motorsport program at its headquarters in Munich, Germany. The event is traditionally where the automaker announces key details for its upcoming season and this year included the reveal of a new race car.
BMW’s M4 GT4 made a surprise appearance, though only a camouflaged prototype was shown as the car is still in development. It’s not due to formally compete until 2018 but it will be entered in a few competitions in 2017 as part of its development program. The first of these will be the 2017 24 Hours of Dubai in January.
BMW says the car has been designed to meet regulations for various GT4 competitions held in Asia, Europe and North America. And to keep costs low, numerous parts from the production car have been retained, including the powertrain, meaning a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 driving the rear wheels.
Because GT4 cars are much closer in spec to the production models on which they are based, they end up being a much more affordable option for drivers looking to build experience or race as a hobby, when compared to more extreme cars such as GT3 models. This has led to a surge in demand, with many automakers now offering GT4 cars. There are already GT4 versions of the Aston Martin Vantage, Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] Mustang, McLaren 570S and Porsche Cayman. And soon we can add the BMW M4 as well as the Mercedes-AMG GT to the list.
Although it’s yet to be confirmed, it’s possible the M4 GT4 spawns a road-going version, perhaps a limited edition model akin to the M4 GTS to celebrate the end of the current M4’s run. Recall, a new 3-Series arrives in 2017, and a new 4-Series, including a new M4, should follow a year or two after.