BMW Group Australia announces 2016 Australian GT Championship assault
BMW Group Australia has confirmed the company will enter the Australian GT Championship in 2016, fielding its newly developed BMW M6 GT3 performance car in the prestigious series.
The racing version of the renowned BMW M6 coupe, the M6 GT3 was unveiled at the IAA Cars 2015 in September and has attracted interest from private teams in a host of championships and renowned race events around the world – and now it’s headed to Australia.
Marc Werner, CEO of BMW Group Australia, is the architect of the brand’s plan to return to the popular local GT Series.
“It’s a well known fact that Australians love performance vehicles, and the BMW Group designs and produces some of the world’s best performance vehicles – it’s in our DNA.
“Vehicles such as our remarkable BMW M6 GT3 are born to race, so why wouldn’t we go racing? It makes perfect sense – it’s part of our brand’s performance heritage,” Werner said.
“We definitely have an exciting 2016 motorsport season ahead of us. For one thing, BMW will be 100 years old, and that obviously gives us extra motivation to present the brand with as much success as possible to mark its anniversary. Plus, after many months of intense testing, we can’t wait to finally see the BMW M6 GT3s make their race debuts in Australia.
“I am certain that we, our customers and the fans will have a lot of fun with these cars. With this in mind, I am particularly pleased to be able to welcome SRM into the BMW family, as a new team responsible for running the BMW M6 GT3 in Australia.”
Assisting BMW Group Australia in their quest for a podium in 2016 will be four-time and current Bathurst 1000 winner, Steve Richards, and his team, Steve Richards Motorsport. The team will be known as the SRM Team BMW.
Richards has been confirmed as the driver of the formidable M6 GT3, and he admits it’s been hard to wipe the smile off his face.
“The M6 GT3 is awesome! I can’t wait to get behind the wheel!” Richards said.
“At the same time, we’re delighted to be teaming up with the iconic BMW brand, celebrated for its high-performance vehicle engineering, on-track driving dynamics and enviable motorsport heritage. BMW has also had a big part to play in our family’s motor racing history.
“The first season with the BMW M6 GT3 will certainly be exciting. It is a completely different concept to its predecessor, the BMW Z4 GT3.
“As such, a lot will be new, so it is hard to predict how quickly we will be up among the front-runners. However, I am impressed by the support offered by BMW Motorsport in Munich and BMW Group Australia. Everyone is doing their best to make the project a success as quickly as possible,” Richards said.
Steve Richards Motorsport will also manage on-track support and parts supply when further M6 GT3 vehicles join the program during 2016.
“With SRM Team BMW we will provide other potential BMW M6 GT3 owners on- and off-track support for their own racing programs and utilise our experience to help reach their full potential driving the car,” Richards said.
The SRM Team BMW inaugural race program will include selected rounds of the 2016 GT Championship, covering both Sprint and Endurance events.
The team’s campaign will begin with the second round of the Sprint program, the Australian Grand Prix event from March 17 to March 20, 2016. All four rounds of the Endurance program will be contested, including the Phillip Island (May 29), Sydney Motorsport Park (August 26-28), Hampton Downs (October 28-30) and Highlands Park 101 (November 13) events.
The first all-new BMW M6 GT3 is scheduled to arrive in Australia in February.
Initially unveiled at the IAA Cars 2015 in Frankfurt, the BMW M6 GT3 is the product of vast experience amassed since 2010 with the vehicle’s successful predecessor, the BMW Z4 GT3.
The BMW M6 GT3 is BMW’s most economic GT racing car ever, with significantly lower running costs than its predecessor, the BMW Z4 GT3, as well as longer lifecycles for cost-intensive parts – and at the same time increasing performance. At the heart of the car is the BMW 4.4-litre V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology, sequential six-speed racing gearbox, significant weight reduction and optimised body aerodynamics. In addition, with its centrally positioned driver’s seat and long wheelbase, the BMW M6 GT3 offers enhanced safety, stability and driving dynamics.
Further details of SRM Team BMW’s 2016 schedule will be revealed early in the new year.