BMW working on M6 GTLM for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Article by Andrew Christian, on October 15, 2015

BMW Motorsport revealed that it has a new challenger in the works for the elite class of the North American GT racing with the BMW M6 GTLM. This is in addition to the BMW M6 GT3 that will continue to participate in FIA GT3 regulated races events and series.

The company expects to return for the eighth season with its BMW Team RLL. The brand will also field its recently developed race car for the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt shared that it was logical to create a vehicle for the WeatherTech Championship using BMW M6 GT3 as the basis.

The M6 GTLM has all the necessary ingredients that can thrill its many fans in the U.S. and Canada. Marquardt adds that the brand is keen to continue all its work commitment on the opposite of the Atlantic with the highest level especially as the WeatherTech Championship remains to be a fantastic stage with legendary venues and a high quality field. BMW will clearly feel right at home, Marquardt concludes.

Chairman and CEO of BMW of North America, LLC, Ludwig Willisch meanwhile said that the company’s success in motor racing in North America forty years ago more than proved its claim of The Ultimate Driving Machine.

This remains to be a significant part of the company’s marketing strategy even today. Being the largest BMW M market worldwide, the brand is excited to make its fans happy with the M6 GTLM for the 2016 WeatherTech Championship.

Bobby Rahal, the Team Principal of BMW Team RLL, stated that 2016 is clearly an exciting year for BMW with a very competitive field, a new car, and its hundredth anniversary. Rahal shares that he is personally thrilled that the RLL continues to be the embodiment of the brand’s North American motorsport program for this eighth season.

This will be the third model that has raced since 2009 and the company is looking forward to the challenge. BMW raced the M3 during the 2009-2012 seasons and the Z4 for the 2013-2015 seasons. Engineers from BMW Motorsport used the M6 GT3 as the bass for the M6 GTLM.

In fact, the GTLM participated in the official “Balance of Performance” tests that were performed by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) for the GTLM homologation together with the GT3 testing of the FIA and ACO held in Ladoux, France.

Subject to the final approvals from North American-based IMSA, the company hopes to race the M6 GTLM for the 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Similar to the GT3 version, the GTLM is powered by a light modified V8 production engine version with the M TwinPower Turbo Technology of the BMW M6 Coupé.

For the past three seasons, BMW Team RLL has used the BMW Z4 GTLM during the United SportsCar Championship and American Le Mans Series. The team has managed to celebrate five victories plus 15 podiums to date. Another milestone that has been added to the history of the BMW’s GT for North America was when it won the 2001 American Le Mans Series.

During this time, the company had the BMW M3 GTR (Drivers’, Team and Manufacturer titles). The brand won as well in 2010 with the BMW M3 GT (Team and Manufacturer titles) and also for 2011 (Drivers’, Team and Manufacturer titles).

The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will start with the 24 Hours of Daytona to be held on January 30 & 31. This will be followed by the ten events for the GTLM teams. This series will take the BMW to what are regarded as the most iconic racetracks found in North America. The season finale is set to take place on October 1 at the “Petit Le Mans” in Road Atlanta.

Press Release

BMW Motorsport announces plans for BMW M6 GTLM in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

While the BMW M6 GT3 will contest race events and series with FIA GT3 regulations as of next season, BMW Motorsport is also working on a new challenger for the elite class of North American GT racing: the BMW M6 GTLM. The plan is to field the newly developed racing car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2016. BMW Team RLL will be responsible for running the BMW M6 GTLM.

“Using the basis of our new BMW M6 GT3 to develop a car for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was a logical step,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “The BMW M6 GTLM has all the essential ingredients to thrill fans in the USA and Canada. We are keen to continue our works commitment on the other side of the Atlantic at the highest level since the WeatherTech Championship is a fantastic stage with a high quality field and legendary venues. We feel right at home there.”

Ludwig Willisch, Chairman and CEO of BMW of North America, LLC, added: “Success in motor racing helped us prove The Ultimate Driving Machine claim in North America forty years ago and continues to be a part of the BMW marketing strategy to this day. As the largest market for BMW M in the world we are eager to delight our fans with the BMW M6 GTLM in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.”

BMW Motorsport engineers derived the BMW M6 GTLM from the BMW M6 GT3, and the BMW M6 GTLM took part in the official “Balance of Performance” tests performed by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) for GTLM homologation alongside GT3 testing by the FIA and ACO in Ladoux (FR). Subject to final approvals by IMSA, based in North America, the BMW M6 GTLM is expected to race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2016. Like the GT3 version, the car is powered by a lightly modified version of the V8 production engine with M TwinPower Turbo Technology from the BMW M6 Coupé.

In the previous three seasons, BMW Team RLL contested the American Le Mans Series and the United SportsCar Championship with the BMW Z4 GTLM and celebrated five victories and an additional 15 podiums to date. Further milestones in the recent GT history of BMW in North America include winning the title in the American Le Mans Series in 2001 with the BMW M3 GTR (Drivers’, Team and Manufacturer titles), as well as with the BMW M3 GT in 2010 (Team and Manufacturer titles) and 2011 (Drivers’, Team and Manufacturer titles).

The 2016 season of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opens with the 24 Hours of Daytona (US) on 30th/31st January. This is followed by a further ten events for the GTLM teams, which will take them to some of the most iconic racetracks in North America. As is tradition, the “Petit Le Mans” in Road Atlanta (US) will provide the spectacular stage for the season finale on 1st October.

Topics: bmw, bmw m6, race car

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