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BMW Team SRM will field a new M4 GT4 entry in February’s Bathurst 12 Hour race, with the car being revealed today in Victoria.
SRM boss Steven Richards said the team has been working on securing one of the factory-built GT4 racers since the prototype was revealed 12 months ago.
SRM gave the car its first shakedown at Winton last week, with the car impressing Richards straight out of the box.
"It's so easy to run. When we picked it up from the airport, I drove it onto the trailer. Everything about it is simple; it's perfect for an amateur racer to put on the trailer, head to the track, have a drive, and then put it back in the shed. It's a very user-friendly, low-overhead car.
Aside from being cheaper to buy and run, GT4 cars are intended to be more user friendly, and easier for non-professional drivers to get the best out of. Richards gave the example of one gentleman racer being able to get within 1.5s of his Winton time within the first test.
While Richards isn’t willing to discuss actual lap times at this stage, he’s happy with its race potential.
"Its corner speed is fantastic. There were some Supercars and some Carrera Cup cars running during the test, and through the corners the M4 GT4 was as fast, if not faster, than anything else.”
Richards explains that the GT4 cars will make it easier for new drivers to enter Australian GT racing, without having to jump straight to GT3.
“It’ll enable amateur drivers or gentleman racers to take that step up from state level club motorsport, without the daunting step of cars that are unbelievably hard to run.”
“In some other forms of motor racing it’s a lot harder because of the speeds, the aero and the level of commitment to drive the cars, it’s really difficult for some of the guys to get that last two seconds, not that last two tenths. GT4 cars will be a great evener for the amateur drivers.”
GT4 sits beneath the more exotic GT3 sports car category, with the cars intended to share track space with the GT3 racers as a sub class rather than racing individually.
The M4 GT4 cars cost around AU$300,000 landed, which is significantly cheaper than most factory GT3 cars, not least the Ferrari 488 GT3 that won this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour that reportedly carries a million dollar price tag.
Richards points out that the factory M4 GT4 is also a cheaper option than developing your own M4 production racer from scratch.
Built from a production car shell, the M4 GT4 uses the road car’s twin-turbo six-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, with a race-spec roll cage and interior, brakes, wheels and tyres, fuel system, and aero package.
Another two M4 GT4s are also expected, with touring car legend Tony Longhurst privately entering a car that will share a pit garage with the SRM entry, along with another New Zealand-based entry being run separately.
The SRM M4 GT4 is also expected to make an appearance in the 2018 Australian GT Championship, but details are still being finalised.
SRM’s three-driver Bathurst 12 Hour line-up is yet to be confirmed, but the car will make its race debut at the iconic Mount Panorama circuit on Sunday, February 4.