BMW Motorsport has been busy testing the new M4 GT3 race car, which will replace the outgoing M6 GT3 in the lineup in 2022. The car has been tested in race conditions at the Nürburgring in Germany and most recently in Barcelona in an SRO GT World Challenge race, but it will face its most grueling test next month at Sebring International Raceway.
BMW Motorsport will enter the Creventic 24 Hour race at Sebring that’s part of the 24H series that typically races in Europe. It will be the North American debut for the car and the first 24H Series race at Sebring. The M4 GT3 entry will be driven by Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley, and James Clay, along with BMW Junior drivers Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen. Auberlen and Foley will both be racing the car for Turner Motorsport next season in an IMSA GTD Pro-Am entry, and Foley will also team with Michael Dinan in an M4 GT3 in the SRO GT World Challenge series.
BimmerWorld Racing will be making the move up to the GT3 class with the M4 GT3 after years of racing the M4 GT4, with the James Clay-led team set to compete in the SRO GT World Challenge series as well. The drive at Sebring will be Clay’s first experience in a GT3 car and will serve as good preparation for stepping into the car next season. While there will be no BMW Team RLL drivers in the cockpit in this race, it is expected that they will enter a pair of M4 GT3s in the IMSA GTD Pro class, though that has yet to be announced.
The 24-hour race at Sebring, which will be held from November 18–20, will be a torture test for the M4 GT3 before it makes its official race debut in the IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. Sebring is notoriously tough on cars with its bumpy surfaces and combination of high speed and low speed turns that require multiple gear changes per lap. Race teams often test at the track because they know that, if something needs to be fixed or further developed on a car, they will find out at Sebring.
Another race team that will be competing in the 24H race at Sebring is the Samantha Tan Racing team, which will compete for the 24H Series GT4 championship with their M4 GT4, the final round of the 24H Series this year. Samantha Tan Racing has also ordered two M4 GT3s that they will field in the 24H Series next year, and Tan has already tested the M4 GT3 in Europe. The RHC Jorgensen/Strom team, which is based at the Thermal Club in California, has also ordered an M4 GT3 for the 24H Series, with plans to contest the races in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. For more information on the 24H Series and the Sebring race, visit 24hseries.com.—David Haueter
[Photo courtesy BMW Motorsport]