2011 E92 M3 GT
2011 BMW E92 M3 GT #1101
3,995cc P65B40 V8, 450+ hp @ 8,200 rpm
BMW USA Classic (since 2011)
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey
In 2008, after eight seasons in F1, BMW divested itself from Sauber, and BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen took BMW back to its roots in production-based GT racing. Theissen wanted to build an E92 M3 that could be raced by factory teams in the classic 24-hour races as well as in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), and BMW Motorsport responded with a high-tech powerhouse. A new 460-hp P65 V8 engine connected via a high-speed torque tube to a rear transaxle that held the alternator, starter motor, etc. Sophisticated aerodynamics routed airflow over and through the carbon fiber bodywork.
While bringing the car to its zenith, Theissen wanted to carry BMW’s racing programs to an equally professional level. In ALMS, BMW NA created the new BMW Team RLL, run by three-time IndyCar champ and ex-Jaguar F1 boss Bobby Rahal.
In 2009, the E92 M3 scored its first ALMS victory at ultra-fast Road America, driven by Joey Hand and Bill Auberlen. In 2010, the E92 M3 GT2 scored a double podium at Sebring behind the Risi Ferrari, then won at Road America (with Hand and Dirk Müller). The car didn’t win another race that year, but consistent results earned BMW the ALMS manufacturer and team titles by a single point and 3rd among drivers for Auberlen and Tommy Milner. Also in 2010, BMW Motorsport raced two M3 GT2s at Le Mans, its first entry at the storied French track since 1999. The Jeff Koons Art Car DNF’d; the other M3 finished 6th in GT.
The car you see here, chassis #1101, was built in 2011, receiving significant Generation II updates including double-wishbone front suspension, paddle shifting for the sequential gearbox, and a driver’s seat relocated to the rear-seat footwell. It was raced as #56 by Hand and Müller, plus Andy Priaulx at Sebring and Petit Le Mans. #1101 scored six podiums (including three GT class wins), helping BMW win the ALMS GT driver’s team, manufacturer’s and Michelin Green X Challenge titles and Hand/Müller the driver’s title.
In 2012, chassis #1101 again wore #56, and it repeated as GT winner at Sebring with Hand, Müller and Jonathan Summerton. Müller and Hand finished 2nd with #1101 at Long Beach, 3rd at Mosport, 4th at Laguna Seca, and 5th at Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio. At Round 7 at Road America, Summerton subbed for Hand and crashed just before the finish. After that, #1101 was repaired and served as a spare car for the rest of 2012, which saw Corvette take the GT laurels ahead of BMW in 2nd. Chassis #1101 was restored to its Sebring specification—including the aerodynamic wheels that added 3 km/h to its top speed—and retired into the BMW USA Classic fleet.