In 2001, BMW wanted to race the new E46 M3 in the Le Mans GT series. But in order to really be competitive, it needed more power – after all, it would be racing the likes of the Corvette C5R, the Porsche 911 GT3, and even Ferraris. As stout as the S54 was, BMW opted to stick a V8 into the E46. Not only did the V8 produce more power, but a look under the hood revealed that it moved the weight back – far back – from where the inline-6 would normally hang. Run by Schnitzer in Europe and PTG in the U.S., they were quite successful if often protested, and in 2001 the PTG developed car won the Petit LeMans in the U.S. and continued to win until 2005 in Europe. They also won the imaginations of BMW fans across the globe, with the the necessary road-going 380 horsepower GTR model a mythical beast of near biblical proportions. Some went a step farther, though, and made track ready weapons. To lower the M3 and be able to run massive wheels – like the 18×11 and 12″ variety of this particular replica – it required some work. Well, a lot of work:
For some times, I had grandiose plans for a derelict 924S that my father had. Source a 931 bell housing, mate it up to a spare Audi 4.2 V8 I had, slap on a Carrera GT body kit, strip it out and stiffen it up and Viola! Instant track weapon on a budget. I had planned it out pretty well, but the timing just never came together quite right, so eventually it went by the wayside. I’ve since seen a few tribute Carrera GTs pop up and even a GTR over in Europe, and every time it makes me think “what if…”; today is no exception. As I came upon this posting, a sly smile crept across my face and thought about it all over again. Today’s example doesn’t follow the plan I had though; it takes an early European-spec 924 2.0 and swaps on the super-wide GTR panels with some crazy Compomotive wheels:
Let’s be honest; racing – especially at a high level – isn’t cheap. Heck, even running track days in a non-competition car isn’t cheap. For those that go to track days, a cycle usually occurs; they buy a “fast” car, go to the track, and fairly quickly realize it’s not as fast as they thought it was. Then years of modifying an inherently flawed chassis and ruining it occurs, until the owner has both a car which is no longer good on the road and which still isn’t incredible on the track. Frustrated, they sell that car and buy a purpose-built race car for a large sum of money and proceed to blow everyone out of the water, causing the other trackphiles to modify their cars to keep up…you get the point. Now, enter the world of Porsches and you’re taking already very fast cars and making them even faster – and much more expensive. Trick out a new GT3 and you’re looking at a somewhat fragile car that will set you back $200,000. While it would undoubtedly be fast, it wouldn’t be in the same league as today’s purpose-built tube frame 600 horsepower monster – the Ultima GTR:
Here is an interesting opportunity for those with deep pockets. Factory BMW race cars don’t show up for sale on eBay all that often or even in the duPont Registry for that matter. This 2005 factory car was one of the rule benders that fitted a V8 in place of the inline 6, this got BMW in some trouble with the ALMS folks.
The seller, Scottsdale Motorsports, doesn’t list any of the car’s race history. Their website, which looks like it definitely isn’t a priority for them, also doesn’t provide any more info. The auction states that the factory V8 has been sold off and in its place sits a P54B32 inline six in race ready form. If you really wanted the V8 though the seller is including a P65B40 V8 as a spare.
The ask price is $220,000 with a Buy-It-Now of $379,000. You can get as fast a car for less than that, but factory race cars bring big bucks. I suspect the seller is more testing the waters with this listing rather than actually thinking someone is going to bite at that price. The seller has no eBay feedback and they listed the car under collectibles rather than on eBay Motors, but again I suspect the person that buys this will do it directly from the seller, not over eBay.