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    Dramatic podium / #BMW-M6-GT3 / #BMW-M6 / #BMW / #2017 / #BMW-M6-F13 / #BMW-F13 / #BMW-6-Series-F13 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-M6-GT3-F13 /

    A dramatic and rain-soaked finale, soaring summer temperatures and 205,000 thrilled spectators ensured quite a spectacle at the recent 24-hour race, held at the famous Nürburgring, known to many as the Green Hell!

    But the event proved anything but hellish for BMW, because Alexander Sims (GBR), Markus Palttala (FIN), Nick Catsburg (NED) and Richard Westbrook (GBR) completed 158 laps in the number 98 #ROWE Racing M6 GT3, and finished in second place. What’s more, the final podium places were only decided during a thrilling last lap.

    A heavy downpour about half an hour before the end of the race led to chaotic scenes all around the Nordschleife. But Catsburg kept a cool head as the final driver of the 98 car, and improved by one place on wet-weather tyres before celebrating a second-place finish with his team-mates. This is the best result recorded yet by #ROWE-Racing at the 24-hour race.

    After the heroic performance, British driver Alexander Sims said: “I’m ecstatic. It’s absolutely awesome. It’s my fourth time coming here and, just like the victory at Spa last year, I didn’t expect it. We didn’t put a foot wrong the whole race; everyone did a superb job.

    “I feel like we capitalised on every opportunity we had, so the team deserved to be on the podium. It was a really exciting final stint, and Nick did a fantastic job. I’m really pleased to be on the podium.”

    The 24-hour race at Nürburgring is one of the most challenging, so congratulations to ROWE Racing’s BMW M6 GT3 for its fine podium finish.
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    Big is Beautiful / #BMW-M6-GT3 / #BMW-M6 / #BMW / #BMW-M6-F13 / #BMW-F13 / #2016 / #BMW-6-Series-F13 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-M6-GT3-F13 /

    Newly minted this season as BMW’s only Asian factory GT3 team, we take a closer look at Japan’s BMW Team Studie and its sexy new BMW-M6-GT3. Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.

    Big is Beautiful We go behind the scenes with Japan’s BMW Team Studie and its sexy new M6 GT3 race car.

    “For all the BMW GT3 teams this year, 2016 is the first year with the car”

    “When I first heard they were going to use the M6 as a [GT3] base instead of the M4, I was worried. More than anything else, I thought it was too big,” says Yasuaki ‘Bob’ Suzuki. The head of both Japan’s largest BMW tuning chain, #Studie-AG , and the #BMW-Team-Studie-GT300 squad is talking about his experiences with the car to date. After five years of running the much smaller Z4 in Super GT competition (three as a privateer team and two as a BMW Japan-backed Sports Trophy outfit), you can see why he might have been anxious before he got his big new toy. Yes, Japan has large, fast circuits like Fuji or Suzuka that inherently suit such a car, but the majority of its tracks are quite small, with some, like Autopolis or Okayama, pretty tight and technical. So you can imagine Bob’s relief when his team first took possession of the car and ace drivers Jörg Müller and Seiji Ara found, despite its 2900mm-plus wheelbase and near five-metre length, that it flew around Okayama during the pre-season shakedown. “We were shocked. It really turned,” he says. “Proof once again of BMW’s engineering skills”.

    The M6’s first full-race performance at the same circuit for Round One of the 2016 championship proved Team Studie’s first impressions were not mistaken, either. Despite being the largest car in the field by some margin, the M6 qualified third and stayed there until the end. For a first race in a completely new and unproven car, this was a huge result, and showed great promise for the future.

    Sadly, the team has been bedevilled by mechanical issues during the rest of the season to date, but when it’s had clean runs, it’s been fighting for the lead every step of the way (often with the only other M6 GT3 in the field, the Team ARTA entry), proving the car’s speed. And while it’s massively frustrating to Bob and his team to see the car sidelined due to these teething troubles, he knew to expect them.

    “For all the BMW GT3 teams this year, 2016 is the first year with the car, so of course there are always going to be niggling problems. However, there are 20 M6 GT3s currently in use worldwide, and the teams using them all exchange information in terms of what bolts are likely to work themselves loose or what needs to be strengthened or replaced early because it’s likely to break etc. So by exchanging this information, we all work together to help improve the M6 GT3. If nothing breaks, the car itself is plenty fast enough, so by figuring out the problems that only arise when racing wheel-to-wheel, all us M6 GT3 owners will make the car a winner.”

    As we’ve seen at the Spa 24-Hours and other races, that’s already happening, so hopefully it’s only a matter of time before the Team Studie car joins the likes of Turner Motorsport, Team ROWE and Team ARTA (who took a pole-to-flag win at round four) on the top step of the podium. At least thanks to Super GT’s unique rules, the bad luck will make things easier for the team in the last few races of the season, as unlike regular GT3 series worldwide, Super GT adds its ‘success ballast’ in a much more aggressive way – teams can be penalised not just for winning, but also fast lap times mid-race and high qualifying positions. This means, while it’s not an advantage it’d like to have, Team Studie’s M6 currently weighs less than any of its rivals’ cars.

    For those not familiar with the current Super GT landscape, those rivals are many and varied, too. In the GT300 class (there’s a GT500 class above for factory-supported DTM-style silhouette racers), you don’t just have the usual Ferrari, Audi, Mercedes and Lamborghini GT3 competitors, but also vehicles like the Subaru BRZ GT300 (a BRZ GT3 by any other name), the Toyota Prius GT300 (complete with hybrid RWD driveline) and home-grown oddities like the va rious MC, or Mother Chassis cars. Most commonly shrouded by a GT86/BRZ-style body and set up in an FR configuration with Nissan V8s, these silhouette carbon tubs are built by Dome and are designed to offer a lower-cost entry path to GT3-level competition. And while they’re usually run as GT86s, one team puts a Lotus Evora body on its car, complete with mid-engined Nissan V8 driveline. Indeed, such is the MC’s flexibility, you can put a pure EV system in there if you want. Either way, these cars are fast, and regularly compete at the front of the field. It’s this variety, and a unique rule set that helps maintain parity better than other GT3 series, that makes Super GT so exciting to watch.

    Of course, even if you’re just interested in BMWs, the new M6 GT3 provides much to look at and enjoy by itself. The result of heavy development by BMW Motorsport to address both the biggest known weakness of its Z4 predecessor – mid-range torque – and provide a cheaper, easier-to-run package for its customer and factory teams worldwide, the M6 GT3 is a masterpiece. In keeping with the lower cost philosophy, the engine is now a production unit based on the standard M6’s S63 twin-turbo V8, with only the dry sump system, intercooling (now air-to-air), exhaust system, management and sundry motorsport-spec connectors changed from the regular road-going motor. Even the turbos are stock, albeit with restrictors fitted to keep the engine to 585hp or less than the road-going Competition Pack model.

    Given the race car is only 1295kg though, that’s not an issue. Unsurprisingly, the driveline is less related to the regular M6, boasting a Ricardo transaxle with a four-plate clutch inside and the generator and A/C compressor bolted to the casing, but then road car gearboxes don’t like competition stresses much.

    Thanks to the latest GT3 rules, BMW has also switched suspension to be double wishbones allround, and there’s also cockpit-adjustable anti-roll bars to work with the Öhlins dampers. Braking, meanwhile, is via AP Racing six-piston front and fourpiston rear callipers and Dixcel pads (Dixcel is a Studie supplier), with BBS 13x18-inch centre-locks carrying Team Studie’s chosen Yokohama rubber. Interestingly, despite everything above, the biggest changes from the road car are actually to the chassis.

    Obviously there’s an FIA-spec cage in there and everything’s been stripped, but that’s just standard for any serious racer. The major changes lie in the crash structure, with carbon fibre front and CFRP rear sections designed to absorb the huge energy loads the car will see in a major impact. In fact, if you watch the Motorsport YouTube channel’s development video, you’ll see the whole front end of the car comes off in one piece, engine and all, which not only facilitates easier maintenance, but should also mean greater safety, as the whole front end can come away in a severe-enough crash, absorbing the energy and leaving the safety cell intact. The rest of the body-related alterations lie in the move to all carbon panels and funky access ports to all necessary fluid reservoirs, filters and data connection points, as well as the fitment of the requisite air jacks and drybreak fuelling system. Wrapped in Studie’s unique take on the traditional M stripes livery, it’s a stunner.

    Perhaps oddly, given that beautiful exterior and the engineering that’s gone into the rest of the car, Bob’s own favourite part is the interior. However, one look shows why that may be: the austere, almost Zen-like black-on-white aesthetic, complete with stunning carbon dash, door trims, control box and foot rest, is perfect, while the obligatory tiny, control-festooned carbon ‘wheel’, ventilated safety seat and AP Racing pedal box all help complete the look. In the case of Studie’s car, the Schroth harnesses have been replaced by OMP ones (again, as per supplier agreements), but the rest is untouched. Maybe you can now see why, when Bob first saw it, he says it gave him goosebumps. His other favourite part of the car, in case you’re wondering, is the engine. Not just because its mid-range torque finally allows his drivers to overtake when they want to, but from a pure engineering perspective, because it’s so low. Drysumped and buried as far down in the front clip as possible, it is an impressive piece of packaging work.

    “You have trouble actually seeing the motor when looking down from above,” he says.

    All this new tech does come with its downsides, of course. First year reliability issues aside, the different chassis, engine and aerodynamics mean the team has virtually no data to work with for each circuit, and when they do get to run, modern race ECUs means they’re flooded with almost too much information. “As of right now, we only have five races’ worth of data on the M6. And assimilating and processing that is tough,” says Bob. Not that he’ll let that, or any of the other issues the team has suffered, curb his championship ambitions. While the 2016 trophy may be out of reach, thanks to the bad luck they’ve had, Team Studie will push on to get as high a position as they can, and next year, they’ll go again, knowing they’ve got a brilliant base to build on for the near future. Long term? No one can tell, but Bob’s plans are grand. Aside from remaining the factory BMW GT3 squad in Japan, he also wants to eventually move into GT500, if and when the long-planned merger of the DTM and GT500 rules occurs; something that would allow him to run an M4 DTM alongside the M6. Both have their advantages – GT500 has the speed, glamour and technological advancement only a top-tier silhouette class can bring, while GT300 is more relatable to his Studie tuning shop customers – though running in two different classes brings its own strains and stresses.

    However, Bob is not the kind of person to let that phase him, so keep an eye out on Super GT, as you may see Studie cars competing, and winning, in two of the best tin-top categories the world has to offer.

    “You have trouble actually seeing the motor when looking down from above”

    “By exchanging this information, we all work together to help improve the M6 GT3”
    • Correction / In the November issue of BMW Car we featured Japan’s BMW Team Studie M6 GT3 in a feature titled Big is Beautiful. Unfortunately due to soCorrection / In the November issue of BMW Car we featured Japan’s BMW Team Studie M6 GT3 in a feature titled Big is Beautiful. Unfortunately due to some unexpected gremlins in the BMW Car editorial office we attributed the photography to Chris Nicholls who wrote the feature – the stunning images were, in fact, taken by Wataru Tamura. Many apologies to all concerned.   More ...
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    M6 GT3 officially revealed at Frankfurt #2015 / #BMW-M6-GT3-F13 / #BMW-F13 / #BMW / #BMW-M6-GT3

    BMW chose to finally reveal its BMW-M6-GT3 challenger for the 2016 season at the Frankfurt motor show and it has to be said that now it’s been unveiled in all its glory the M6 GT3 looks utterly stunning.

    It’ll take over from the Z4 GT3 at the end of this season and will be available to purchase from #BMW-Motorsport by the end of 2015 for the princely sum of €379,000… plus VAT.

    BMW Motorsport has channelled its vast well of experience amassed since 2010 with the M6 GT3’s successful predecessor into the development of the new car and it boasts a raft of improvements, particularly in the areas of drivability and economy. One example is the use of a series-produced engine – the M6’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 – which develops more horsepower and torque than the outgoing naturally-aspirated V8 in the Z4.

    At 4944mm long the GT3 is approximately 50mm longer than its production counterpart but at 2046mm wide it’s a huge 15cm wider than the road car and has a 50mm longer wheelbase, too. The race car has been on a dramatic weight loss programme and where the standard M6 Coupé weighs in at a chubby 1980kg, the GT3 tips the scales at just 1300kg in part thanks to the entire bodywork of the car being fashioned from carbon fibre. It’s full of sexy exterior detailing too, such as the carbon rear diffuser and front splitter and neatly sculpted panels around the front fog light housings.

    Depending on the series in which it’s entered the V8 develops up to 585hp and according to BMW Motorsport just about the only change from the production engine is the addition of dry sump lubrication and the use of Cosworth engine management with BMW Motorsport software. It’s mated to a six-speed Ricardo sequential transaxle unit and an adjustable differential. Naturally enough there’s race ABS braking and adjustable traction control too. Suspension is by double wishbones front and rear and there are four-way adjustable Ohlins shock absorbers all-round.

    The aerodynamic properties of the chassis have been optimised in BMW’s wind tunnel. The engineers worked meticulously to fine-tune the M6 Coupé, which formed the basis for the new car and was already pretty well suited to outings on the racetrack. Priority was given to ensuring maximum driver safety. To offer the drivers of the M6 GT3 as much protection as possible against the effects of an accident, BMW Motorsport itself developed and produced the FIA-approved safety cell in accordance with the very latest safety standards. The engineers also placed great importance on efficiency and ease of maintenance, as well as reliability, which is particularly crucial at the 24-hour classics.

    “The M6 Coupé production model provided us with the perfect basis for developing our new GT racing car,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “The heart of the M6 GT3, its engine, has been transferred from the production car with only minor modifications. Furthermore, the car sets new benchmarks when it comes to safety – with a completely re-designed front, a large distance to the safety cage, and the driver’s seat oriented well towards the centre of the car. With the M6 GT3, our customer racing teams can look forward to thoroughbred motor racing technology. The M6 GT3 incorporates many findings from works racing projects, while at the same time being cost-oriented towards customer racing. It is BMW’s most economic GT racing car ever: with significantly lower running costs than its predecessor as well as longer lifecycles for cost-intensive parts – and all that while at the same time increasing performance. And let’s not forget the design: with its athletic lines, the M6 GT3 is a real eye-catcher. I am confident that we are excellently positioned for the future with this top model in our customer racing range.”

    The M6 GT3 has undergone an extensive test programme on a variety of circuits over the course of 2015. This has allowed the experienced BMW works drivers to amass many valuable kilometres at the wheel of the racecar, and to carry out important work on the baseline set-up of the new GT and endurance racing challenger. This new poster car for customer racing is now undergoing a final round of fine-tuning prior to its race debut in the coming year.

    The M6 GT3 looks awesome and there’s some lovely detailing too, such as the carbon fibre adjustable pedal box.


    ENGINE: #BMW-P63 / #P63 V8 4395cc production engine with M TwinPower Turbo Technology; output of to 585hp (depending on classification); dry sump lubrication specifically developed by #BMW-Motorsport ; production turbochargers; air to air intercoolers; #Cosworth Engine management with bespoke software specially developed by BMW Motorsport.

    GEARBOX: #Ricardo transaxle assembly; adjustable differential preload; alternator, air-conditioning compressor, clutch on gearbox; #Zytek actuator; hydraulic, four-disc sintered clutch.

    BRAKES: #AP-Racing brake system – six-piston, fixed callipers at front, four-piston, fixed callipers at rear; #Bosch-Motorsport-ABS system, adjustable.

    WHEELS & TYRES: #BBS rims, 13x18-inches front and rear; 310/710 x 18-inch tyres.

    CHASSIS: Exterior completely made of carbon fibre; aerodynamically optimised to comply with regulations for GT3 cars to be introduced in 2016 (splitter, diffuser, rear wing); closed undercarriage; easily accessible connections for lifting equipment, engine oil, and checking the oil; easily accessible brake liquid reservoirs and data export connections; LED headlights; air jack system; rapid fuelling system (mountable on right or left of car); carbon-fibre crash structure at front and CFRP crash element at rear for maximum safety.

    SUSPENSION: Double wishbone axle at front and rear (adjustable height, camber, track, and roll centre); Öhlins shock absorbers (four-way adjustable); anti-roll bar on front and rear axle, adjustable from exterior; traction control, adjustable.

    INTERIOR: Colour display with optional logger function; ECU; power box; Illuminated control panel; adjustable pedal box; rigidly attached #BMW safety seat (ventilated, with adjustable height and length), oriented towards centre of car; removable, multi-functional steering wheel with pedal shift and status LEDs; welded safety cage in line with latest FIA standards; adjustable steering column; electrically adjustable wing mirrors; motorsport wiring harness; fire extinguishing system.

    PRICE: €379,000 plus VAT
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    Bob BMW
    Well, it’s certainly been an interesting month in the motoring world with one car manufacturing group being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Quite what VW was thinking for all those years is beyond me and I can’t quite fathom how the company expected to get away with it for so long. BMW, it would appear, is squeaky clean, but I can’t help but feel that this may well be the start of some diesel backlash that will have far longer-term ramifications than the dip in VW’s share price and the loss of customer confidence in the brand. #BMW-M6-GT3-F13 / #BMW-F13 / #2015 / #BMW-M6-GT3-F12 / #BMW-F12

    Hopefully one good thing that will come out of it is that the official test cycles that are used to judge vehicles’ economy and emissions will be given a thorough overhaul. We’ve mentioned it several times over recent months and the bottom line is that unless you have a very particular set of driving circumstances or are entering an economy marathon then you haven’t a hope in hell of achieving the claimed economy on the combined cycle. The tests are utterly unrealistic and while the authorities say that consumers can still compare the results between different manufacturers and draw conclusions from them that’s not really the point. The test really isn’t fit for purpose, especially when it comes to plug-in hybrids which can generally more or less complete the test on their battery reserves with no thought as to what their economy will be like when their batteries are depleted.

    It will be interesting to see how other manufacturers’ diesel sales will be affected in America, but I think it’s fair to say that as a result of this high profile diesel disaster many people are looking at the fuel in a different way. Yes, a diesel-engined machine does produce less CO² than an equivalent petrol one, and that’s good for the environment, but if the particulates are damaging to our health you have to wonder what’s the point?

    Fortunately if you’re turning away from the black pump you’ll be delighted with this issue as there’s hardly a sniff of it bar our new versus used twin test. The rest of our features are glorious fuelled by petrol – from Evolve’s 750hp M5, to a selection of superb Alpinas, to the latest M3 and our celebration of 40 years of the 3 Series. And then we have the full details of the beast pictured below – the #BMW-M6-GT3 race car. It looks utterly gorgeous and should certainly tear up the track in endurance events when it enters competition in anger next year. It wouldn’t really be the same with a diesel lump under its carbon bonnet would it?
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